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Rocks, Gloucester

Stuart Davis1915

New Orleans Museum of Art

New Orleans Museum of Art

For early American modern artists like Stuart Davis, energetic cities and widely varied terrain offered intriguing new ground for artistic experimentation. During the first decades of the 20th century, Davis lead the shift from realism to abstraction in American art. Davis began his career creating more realistic, documentary paintings, and ended it painting almost entirely abstract works now celebrated for their striking visual modernism. Rocks, Gloucester is a pivotal transitional work for Davis, painted just as he started working in a more experimental style. For Davis, the bright new colors and bold new forms of paintings like Rocks, Gloucester were a way of capturing the mad rush of American life, from, as he said, “fruit and flowers; kitchen utensils; Fall skies; horizons; taxi-cabs; radio; art exhibitions and reproductions; fast travel; Americana; movies; electric signs; [and the] dynamics of city lights and sounds.”

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