Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Semé

Artist:
Stuart Davis (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1892–1964 New York)
Date:
1953
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
52 x 40 in. (132.1 x 101.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
George A. Hearn Fund, 1953
Accession Number:
53.90
Rights and Reproduction:
© Estate of Stuart Davis/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Not on view
To Davis, the French word semé, the title of this painting, connotes lots of things strewn about. The composition presents a lively jumble of variously sized and colored shapes that collide and overlap, creating juxtapositions enhanced by the work’s punchy, discordant palette. The word "any" evokes equality among all the elements in the picture; Eydeas is a fusion of the words "eye" and "ideas." Davis’s flat, graphic style of painting and the incorporation of text suggest his appreciation of commercial advertising and, thus, his deliberate fusion of "high" and "low" art.
Inscription: Signed (upper right): Stuart Davis
the artist, New York (1953; sold on May 16, 1953, through the Downtown Gallery, New York, to MMA)

New York. Downtown Gallery. "Stuart Davis: Exhibition of Recent Paintings," March 2–27, 1954, brochure no. 7.

Fort Worth, Tex. Fort Worth Art Center. "Inaugural Exhibition," October 8–31, 1954, no. 19.

New York. Art Gallery, The American Academy of Arts and Letters and The National Institute of Arts and Letters. "Exhibition of Work by Newly Elected Members," May 24–June 24, 1956, no. 2 (dated it 1952-53).

New York. Downtown Gallery. "Stuart Davis: Exhibition of Ten of the Paintings Used as Color Illustrations in 'Stuart Davis' by Rudi Blesh," May 10–June 4, 1960, brochure no. 6.

Philadelphia. Peale House Galleries, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. "A Retrospective Exhibition of the Paintings of Stuart Davis," October 3–November 8, 1964, checklist no. 17.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist [temporarily removed in June for Exh. Washington 1965].

The White House, Washington D.C. "The White House Festival of the Arts," June 14, 1965, brochure no. 7.

New York. B. Altman & Co. December 4–10, 1969, no catalogue.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Great American Paintings from the Boston and Metropolitan Museums," November 30, 1970–January 10, 1971, no. 93.

Saint Louis, Mo. City Art Museum. "Great American Paintings from the Boston and Metropolitan Museums," January 28–March 7, 1971, no. 93.

Seattle Art Museum. "Great American Paintings from the Boston and Metropolitan Museums," March 25–May 9, 1971, no. 93.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Tribute to a Curator: Robert Beverly Hale," November 16, 1978–March 4, 1979, unnum. checklist.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selection One," February 1–April 28, 1985, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "14 Americans," July 16, 1990–January 2, 1991, unnum. checklist.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stuart Davis: American Painter," November 23, 1991–February 16, 1992, no. 148.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Stuart Davis: American Painter," March 26–June 7, 1992, no. 148.

Venice. Peggy Guggenheim Collection. "Stuart Davis," June 7–October 5, 1997, no. 46.

New York. Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, LLC. "Stuart Davis: Major Late Paintings," April 9–May 11, 2002, no. 6.

Frederick S. Wight. "Profile of Stuart Davis." Art Digest 27 (May 15, 1953), p. 23, ill. p. 13, praises the artist's use of color and notes the importance of wordplay in both his composition and his title.

Ralph M. Pearson. The Modern Renaissance in American Art: Presenting the Work and Philosophy of 54 Distinguished Artists. New York, 1954, p. 207, fig. 124.

Hale A. Woodruff. "Stuart Davis, American Modern." School Arts 57 (September 1957), ill. p. 36.

E. C. Goossen. Stuart Davis. New York, 1959, pl. 60.

Rudi Blesh. Stuart Davis. New York, 1960, colorpl. G.

James Elliott. "Première." Los Angeles County Museum of Art Bulletin 14, no. 3 (1962), p. 9, fig. 6.

Darío Suro. "Homenaje a Stuart Davis 1894-1964." Ahora 3 (August 10, 1964), ill. p. 31, calls it "Sene".

Mary Anne Guitar. 22 Famous Painters and Illustrators Tell How They Work. New York, 1964, ill. p. 40.

Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, pp. 60, 146–47, ill.

Darío Suro. "Stuart Davis, 1894–1964: Abstract Art on a Postage Stamp." Americas 17 (January 1965), ill. p. 31, calls it "Sene".

H. H. Arnason in Stuart Davis Memorial Exhibition. Exh. cat., National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D.C., 1965, p. 36.

H. H. Arnason (MOD) in Stuart Davis, 1894-1964. Exh. cat., American Embassy, London. London, 1966, unpaginated.

Thomas N. Maytham. Great American Paintings from the Boston and Metropolitan Museums. Exh. cat., Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, 1970, p. 140, no. 93, ill. p. 143.

Diane Kelder, ed. Stuart Davis. New York, 1971, pl. 40.

Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 516, colorpl. 923.

Brian O'Doherty. American Masters: The Voice and the Myth in Modern Art. rev. ed. (first edition, 1974). New York, 1982, p. 74.

Lowery S. Sims in 20th Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vol. 2, Painting: 1945–1985. New York, 1986, pp. 28–29, ill. (color, overall and detail).

Karen Wilkin. Stuart Davis. New York, N. Y., 1987, colorpl. 1.

Lawrence B. Salander. Stuart Davis (1892-1964): Motifs and Versions. Exh. cat., Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, Inc. New York, N.Y., 1988, pl. 10.

Earl Davis. Stuart Davis: Scapes. An Exhibition of Landscapes, Cityscapes and Seascapes made between 1910 and 1923. Exh. cat., Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, Inc. New York, 1990, p. 10, fig. 4, ill. caption switched with fig. 3.

William C. Agee in Lowery Stokes Sims. Stuart Davis: American Painter. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, p. 84.

Lewis Kachur in Lowery Stokes Sims. Stuart Davis: American Painter. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, p. 105.

Lowery Stokes Sims in Lowery Stokes Sims. Stuart Davis: American Painter. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1991, pp. 277, 279-80, 286-87, no. 148, ill. (color).

Karen Wilkin. "Expert Opinion: Karen Wilkin on Stuart Davis—The Ace of American Modernists." Auction Forum U.S.A. (June 1991), ill. p. 1.

Carter Ratcliff. "Stuart Davis." Portraits: The Lives and Works of Eminent Artists 2 (October 1992), unpaginated, ill. on cover (color).

Patricia Hills. Stuart Davis. New York, 1996, p. 142.

Lewis Kachur in Stuart Davis. Ed. Philip Rylands. Exh. cat., Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Milan, 1997, p. 37.

Diane Kelder in Stuart Davis. Ed. Philip Rylands. Exh. cat., Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Milan, 1997, p. 164-65, no. 46, ill. (color).

Roberta Smith. "Riffs on America in an Abstract Direction." New York Times (May 22, 1998), p. B33, notes that in Exh. Washington 1998, this work was shown next to its "fraternal twin" "Rapt at Rappaport's" (1952, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.).

Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski in Stuart Davis: Major Late Paintings. Exh. cat., Salander-O'Reilly Galleries, LLC. New York, 2002, p. 52, no. 6, colorpl. 6.

D. Scott Atkinson in Off the Northeast Coast. Exh. cat., Owen Gallery. New York, 2003, pp. 16, 20 n. 3.

Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski, ed. Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 3, Catalogue Entries 1324–1749. New Haven, 2007, pp. 378–80, no. 1672, ill. (color).

William C. Agee in Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné. Ed. Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski. Vol. 1, Essays and References. New Haven, Conn., 2007, pp. 101-2.



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