Stuart Davis (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1892–1964 New York)
Oil on canvas
32 x 40 in. (81.3 x 101.6 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jay R. Braus, 1981
Not on view
Heralded for his abstract visual evocations of jazz, Davis also responded profoundly to the industrial age in his art. The present work features two men standing before a schematically rendered structure with their backs to the viewer. Likely representing a construction site with the foreman and investor looking on, the painting alludes to New York’s interwar construction boom. Highlighting the degree to which industrialism was associated with masculinity, Davis’s painting, consisting of primary colors on a white ground, also testifies to the artist’s respect for Piet Mondrian.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Stuart Davis '34
the artist (to McMahon); A. Philip and Audrey McMahon, New York (until his d. 1947); Audrey McMahon, New York (from 1947; sold to Halpert); Edith G. Halpert (until d. 1970; her estate, 1970–73; her estate sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, March 14, 1973, no. 57); Mr. and Mrs. Jay R. Braus, Larchmont, N. Y. (until 1981; their gift to MMA)
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Fifty Years of American Art," February 11–March 10, 1968, unnum. checklist (as "Two Men Look at a Future").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "30 Painters: Recent Acquisitions," January 26–March 14, 1982, brochure no. 10.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "It All Begins With a Dot: Exploring Lines in 20th-Century Art," April 13–December 31, 1988, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "14 Americans," July 16, 1990–January 2, 1991, unnum. checklist.
Mobile, Ala. Fine Arts Museum of the South. "Modernism and American Painting of the 1930s," February 12–March 28, 1993, unnumbered cat. (p. 5).
Koriyama, Japan. Koriyama City Museum of Art. "Stuart Davis: Retrospective 1995," July 8–August 6, 1995, no. 58 (as "Men and Machines").
Shiga, Japan. The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga. "Stuart Davis: Retrospective 1995," August 12–October 1, 1995, no. 58.
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum. "Stuart Davis: Retrospective 1995," October 10–November 26, 1995, no. 58.
Karen Wilkin. Stuart Davis. New York, N. Y., 1987, p. 139, pl. 152.
Lowery Stokes Sims in Lowery Stokes Sims. Stuart Davis: American Painter. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pp. 63–64, fig. 43 (color).
Akio Seki inStuart Davis: Retrospective 1995. Exh. cat., Koriyama City Museum of Art. Osaka, Japan, 1995, p. 100, no. 58, ill. (color).
Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski, ed. Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 3, Catalogue Entries 1324–1749. New Haven, 2007, p. 281, no. 1604, ill. (color), notes that this work was created under the auspices of the Public Works of Art Project, Washington, D.C. for New York University, College of Fine Arts, although there is no evidence that it was installed at NYU.