Stuart Davis: The Great American Cubist

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Robert Storr reviews Stuart Davis: In Full Swing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on view through September 25, 2016.

Storr argues: “Davis was … the only first-class Cubist to emerge from North America. In my estimation he was the equal of the great Fernand Léger, who so loved New York’s tumult and muscularity but failed to capture it in his own works devoted to the subject, such as the Davis-inflected Adieu a New York (1946). I would even argue that, painting-by-painting, Davis was in some respects Léger’s superior—the painter and critic Fairfield Porter astutely noted that “Léger’s reserve force is the alibi for his inattention” despite the fact that, along with Picasso and Braque, the Frenchman undeniably originated the formal language that Davis refined, tuned up, and gave uniquely New World accents.”

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