Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Davis expressed an interest in depicting his surroundings, finding inspiration in the trappings of the cityscape. In Jefferson Market, Davis compresses symbols of urban infrastructure—lampposts, railings, elevated train girders, pedestrian underpasses, chimney rows, a skyscraper—into a spatially complex, collagelike painting that depicts a bold, metropolitan space. The clock tower in the distance identifies the scene as the area in Greenwich Village known as Jefferson Market, where a courthouse (with a clock tower) was built in the 1870s. The looming shadow of a much taller skyscraper in the background portends New York’s continual urban transformation.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): STUART DAVIS; Signed and inscribed (verso, on stretcher): JEFFERSON MARKET/ 4/ STUART DAVIS
the artist, New York (from 1930); Faith Waggenon; Sam Kupersmith, New York (from 1961); [Andrew Crispo Gallery, New York]; Carl D. Lobell, New York (1976–96; gift to MMA)
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Stuart Davis," October 17, 1945–February 3, 1946, unnumbered cat. (p. 34; as "Jefferson Market," lent by the Downtown Gallery, New York).
Berlin. Akademie der Künste. "Amerika: Traum und Depression 1920/40," November 9–December 28, 1980, no. 87 (as "Jefferson Market," 1931, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Carl Lobell).
Kunstverein Hamburg die Ausstellung. "Amerika: Traum und Depression 1920/40," January 11–February 15, 1981, no. 87.
New York. Richard York Gallery. "Modernism at the Salons of America, 1922–1936," October 19–December 8, 1995, no. 7 (as "Jefferson Market," ca. 1930).
Munich. Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung. "Der kühle Blick: Realismus der zwanziger Jahre," June 1–September 2, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 131).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Thomas Hart Benton’s 'America Today' Mural Rediscovered," September 30, 2014–April 19, 2015, no catalogue (see MMA Bulletin 72, Winter 2015).
James Johnson Sweeney. Stuart Davis. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1945, p. 27.
Christiane Lange inDer kühle Blick: Realismus der zwanziger Jahre. Ed. Wieland Schmied. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung. Munich, 2001, p. 130, ill. p. 131 (color).
Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski, ed. Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 3, Catalogue Entries 1324–1749. New Haven, 2007, pp. 209, 211, no. 1548, ill. (color), calls it "Jefferson Market"; catalogues another version of this composition (no. 1549; collection Fayez Sarofm, Houston).
William C. Agee inStuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski. Vol. 1, Essays and References. New Haven, Conn., 2007, p. 66.