Stuart Davis

Color Sketch for Drake University Mural (Study for "Allée")


During the Depression years, Stuart Davis found a subsistence livelihood through the Federal Art Project. He painted a mural for the men's lounge of the new Radio City Music Hall, Mural (Men Without Women) (1932), now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; a vast mural (45 x 140 ft), for the New York World's Fair, which was subsequently destroyed; a mural for the radio station WNYC; and one titled Swing Landscape (1938), now at Indiana University. This color sketch is a preparatory work for a later mural, Allée, (8 x 33 ft), completed in 1955 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa—more grave and solid than his previous murals, perfectly tuned, keyed and pitched. Davis knew what he wanted from a mural: ''An art of real order in the material of paint doesn't say 'Workers of the World Unite'; it doesn't say 'Pasteur's theory had many beneficial results for the human race,' and it doesn't say 'Buy Camel cigarettes'; it merely says 'Look, here is a unique configuration in color-space.'''

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Artist Stuart Davis
Original Title Color Sketch for Drake University Mural (Study for "Allée")
Date 1955
Medium Gouache on paper
Dimensions 24.7 x 90.8 cm
Credit line Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York. Gift, Earl Davis
Accession 97.4564
Collection Acquisitions
Type Work on paper

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