A Finding Aid to the Stuart Davis Papers, 1934-1940, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.davistua
Creators:
Davis, Stuart, 1892-1964
Dates:
1934-1940
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.8 Linear feet
Repository:
The papers of painter Stuart Davis measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1934 to 1940. The collection is comprised of correspondence that includes letters from Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Arnold Blanch, Rockwell Kent, and others regarding Pablo Picasso's statement against the fascist dictatorship in Spain, as well as a letter from Davis to Picasso inviting him to speak at the 2nd Annual American Artists' Congress meeting. Also found are files from Davis's position as editor of Art Front magazine; membership files documenting Davis's activities with the American Artists' Congress, Fine Arts Federation of New York, the New York World's Fair Artists Committee, and other organizations; printed materials; a project file for the Federal Art Project; and editorials. Additional items include an article manuscript and a draft of a letter to Ben Shahn suggesting that Downtown Gallery artists provide funding to Edith Halpert in order to open another gallery.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter Stuart Davis measure 0.8 linear feet and date from 1934 to 1940. The collection is comprised of correspondence that includes letters from Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Arnold Blanch, Rockwell Kent, and others regarding Pablo Picasso's statement against the fascist dictatorship in Spain, as well as a letter from Davis to Picasso inviting him to speak at the 2nd Annual American Artists' Congress meeting. Also found are files from Davis's position as editor of Art Front magazine; membership files documenting Davis's activities with the American Artists' Congress, Fine Arts Federation of New York, the New York World's Fair Artists Committee, and other organizations; printed materials; a project file for the Federal Art Project; and editorials. Additional items include an article manuscript and a draft of a letter to Ben Shahn suggesting that Downtown Gallery artists provide funding to Edith Halpert in order to open another gallery.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Due to the small size of this collection the papers are arranged as one series.
  • Series 1: Stuart Davis papers, 1934-1940 (Boxes 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Stuart Davis (1892-1964) was a painter in New York, N.Y.
Davis was born in Philadelphia to Edward Wyatt Davis, who was the art editor of The Philadelphia Press, and sculptor Helen Stuart Foulke. He began his art training under Robert Henri at the Robert Henri School of Art in New York in 1909. His works were selected by artist William Glackens to be exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show making Davis one of the youngest artists to participate. In 1928, he traveled to Paris for a year where he painted street scenes of the city. While there, he married Bessie Chosak who later died in 1932. He remarried in 1938 to Roselle Springer. In 1933, Davis began painting murals for the for the Federal Art Project, a government project sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Throughout his career, Davis was involved with many art groups including the American Artists' Congress, the Fine Arts Federation of New York, and others. Davis had a strong interest in politics that was often expressed through his artwork and as the editor of Art Front, a publication of the Artists Union in New York that was associated with communist ideology.
Davis taught at the Art Students League, New York School for Social Research, and Yale University. He was represented by the Downtown Gallery in New York. He died in 1964 in New York.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2019.
Existence and Location of Copies
Two documents on microfilm reel 2803 are available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
Separated Materials
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming including 9 scrapbooks (reels N584-N586 and N696) containing newspaper clippings, magazine articles, exhibition notices and catalogs that are in the possession of Earl Davis, son of Stuart Davis; 1 notebook (reel 3842) that is located at the Pierpont Morgan Library; and approximately 85 letters to Davis from his mother, Helen Stuart Davis (reel N70-12) dating from 1935-1939, in which she describes her work as a sculptor on the Federal Art Projects in Dade County, Florida and Berkeley, California, detailing administrative difficulties and daily work, and alluding to her son's work with the American Artists' Congress, his influence with Holger Cahill and other federal officials; her sketchbooks; and approximately 90 photographs of work done by her and others on the Federal Art Project in Florida. The material was returned to Mrs. Stuart Davis after microfilming.
Author
Sarah Mundy
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Stuart Davis papers were donated by Earl Davis from 1984-1988.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Stuart Davis papers, 1934-1940. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is access restricted except for a handwritten draft of a letter to Ben Shahn and a photocopy of an article by Davis titled "Abstract Painting Today"; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Access, with permission, to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Conditions Governing Use
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.

Related Materials
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Stuart Davis conducted on May 18-June 19, 1962 by Harlan Phillips, for the Archives of American Art and Brandeis University.
Additional Stuart Davis papers are also located at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University and Pierpont Morgan Library.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Modernism (Art) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Federal Art Project (N.Y.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kuniyoshi, Yasuo, 1889-1953 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Artists' Congress Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/