Across the Harbor

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
17 x 22 in. 23 x 28 in. (framed)
Credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
Accession number
31.309
Collection
Currently On View

Davies’ paintings exude a dream-like quality of detachment from the everyday world.

In Across the Harbor Davies painted a group of female figures, posing their stylized forms in the frieze-like composition he favored.

The color scheme and abrupt change of scale heighten the painting’s sense of mystery.

 

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Urban Realism

Arthur Bowen Davies

Across the Harbor, 1908

oil on canvas

17 x 22 in.

James E. Roberts Fund

Learn More

Arthur B. Davies was born in Utica, New York and exhibited his talent for painting when he was sixteen.  His family moved to Chicago where he studied at the Art Institute.  He went to New York City and continued his studies at the Art Students League, where he met Robert Henri and George Luks.  As with many of the artists who would later make up the group known as The Eight, Davies began his career as an illustrator.  He discovered his distinctive style of the female nude in a landscape setting around the turn of the twentieth-century.  Symbolic and poetic, these figures were posed in a frieze-like manner against mysteriously dark backgrounds and seemed to have their roots in mythology.  In 1908, Davies joined a group of artists at an exhibition at Macbeth Gallery which established these artists as “The Eight.”  Davies became president of the Society of Independent Artists and helped organize the 1913 Armory Show, which introduced the American public to European avant-garde trends.  While Cubism had a short and minor influence on Davies, he continued to focus on the idyllic figures that were the hallmark of his style.

Many of Davies’ paintings exude a dream-like quality of detachment from the everyday world. In Across the Harbor the artist painted a group of female figures, posing their stylized forms in the frieze-like composition he often favored.  The unusual color scheme and the abrupt change of scale presented by the sailboat heighten the painting’s vague sense of otherworldly mystery.

Reference

Royal Cortissoz. Arthur B. Davies, Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007 (reprint).  ISBN-13: 978-1432579609