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True to Life: Elaine de Kooning on Stuart Davis

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Blog post revisiting Elaine de Kooning's 1957 profile of artist Stuart Davis on the occasion of the exhibition Stuart Davis: In Full Swing at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, on view through September 25, 2016.

De Kooning writes: "Today, when hectic, automatist techniques so often and so surprisingly result in ingratiating, decorative and vaguely naturalistic imagery, a painting by Stuart Davis, with its plain, strong, 'ready-made' colors and sharply cut-out shapes, has somewhat the effect of a good sock on the jaw, sudden, emphatic and not completely pleasant… one is struck… with the singularly impersonal, almost disembodied nature of his art. One does not feel a contact with its inception (as with Abstract-Expressionist work) or recognize in it the sensuality of an individual effort. It seems to be there all at once—the product of an aggregate impulse and perception, like slang."

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