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Collection Spotlight

Stuart Davis, Red Cart

Stuart Davis
Red Cart, 1932
oil on canvas
museum purchase

In Red Cart, early modernist painter Stuart Davis, moved by the European works he saw at New York’s 1913 Armory Show, applied the flat, linear, and geometric shapes and bold, rich colors of Cubism to a uniquely American harbor scene he experienced in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he summered from 1915 to 1940.

Davis explained that the masts of schooners “define the often empty sky expanse. They function as a color-space coordinate between earth and sky. From the masts of schooners the artist eventually learns to invent his own coordinates when for some unavoidable reason they are not present.” In Red Cart, one of Davis’s most influential paintings of the 1930s, the artist plays with painterly illusion by suggesting that his three-dimensional scene is actually a two-dimensional stage screen hung from grommets.

Author: Jaime DeSimone, Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow

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