8 1/2 x 12 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
Stuart Davis developed an abstract style richly flavored by allusions to the idiomatic accents of contemporary American life. He readily proclaimed his stylistic debts to European modernists Picasso, Lйger, and Mirу and denounced the narrow literalness of realist schools. Nonetheless, Davis deliberately grounded his imagery in the distinctive locales, urban signage, and jazz music of his native land. This composition originated in the artist’s direct observation of an expanse of rocks and beach along the Atlantic coast at Cape Ann, Massachusetts, a scene which he first recorded in a simple line drawing.
Davis wrote to Elizabeth Navas, who acquired Bass Rocks #1 (the oil painting) for the Wichita Art Museum in 1944, that in this painting he had transmuted the brilliant light and topographical rhythms of the natural site into “analogous dynamics of spaces and color.” As was typical of the painter when he was particularly pleased with a design, Davis developed color improvisations on the theme of Bass Rocks in a second oil painting, two gouache drawings, and this serigraph print.