Stuart Davis

Karen Wilken, Author, Karen Wilkin, Author Abbeville Press $85 (248p) ISBN 978-0-89659-755-6
Even when he was hailed as ""the ace of American modernists,'' Davis was odd man out. His distinctive brand of homegrown Cubism, with its clashing shapes and razzle-dazzle colors, had few imitators. Though he was active in leftist politics in the 1930s, his work from that period seems curiously detached. In later years he turned inward, out of touch with a new generation of abstract artists. Nevertheless, his best pictures have undeniable staying power born of their sheer inventiveness, jazzy syncopations and street-smart imagery. Wilkin, who has written books on David Smith and Helen Frankenthaler, examines the phases of Davis's career, from the gritty realism of his Ashcan pictures to serene New Mexico landscapes, cubist ``Tobacco Paintings'' and murals. This profusely illustrated biographical study should add luster to the reputation of an artist whose work has stood the test of time. (November 2)
Reviewed on: 11/02/1987
Release date: 11/01/1987
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