Monday, April 5, 2010

Stuart Davis, Hotel de France

Stuart Davis
American, 1892-1964

Hotel de France, 1928
Oil on canvas

Hotel de France is the first painting Stuart Davis completed during a 14 month stay in Paris beginning in 1928. The bright palette, jaunty composition and picturesque street scene convey the American artist's delight in the city's unique sites, particularly in the area of Montparnasse, where he settled. Vertically oriented, the composition calls attention to the white hotel facade, red pissotiere (public urinal), green advertising kiosk and black lamppost. Signs of the influence of French Cubism are evident in the interplay between two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional space as well as in the inclusion of prominent textured forms. The visual rhythms of Davis' work approximate the syncopation of American jazz, which enjoyed international popularity for its rebellious and youthful spirit.

This work is part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.

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