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Figures and El

Figures and El, 1931, Etching
Stuart Davis (American, 1892 – 1964)

In the early 20th century, Stuart Davis began his training as a student of the Ashcan School, which depicted scenes of daily life in the poorer sections of New York City.  Invited to exhibit in the famous 1913 Armory Show, Davis encountered the work of European Cubist and modernist painters including Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse.

This work from 1931 shows Davis’ Ashcan and Cubist influences.  Elements of this urban setting – a single street light, the subway platform and passenger, smoke from a distant chimney – are all in their most basic forms.