Friday Art: Place Pasdeloup by Stuart Davis (1928)

Davis, an American artist from Philadelphia, started out influenced by Cubism, and then evolved into someone more interested in mixing symbols with his geometric shapes. I like all of his styles, but when he did material like Place Pasdeloup, the simple gray-black outlines of city corners and streets, combined with the solid blocks of color and primitive hand lettering, remind me of the backgrounds in old UPA cartoons.

Like this one:

Davis loved painting everyday objects like gas pumps or egg beaters, breaking them down into those wonderfully abstract geometric shapes and color blocks. He’d try to illustrate motifs and ideas he heard in Jazz, and influenced a lot of the pop artists of the 1960s.

Place Pasdeloup certainly looks empty and peaceful. Just an empty corner, no people, despite the sunny day and that wonderful scrawl in the sky – is it a wispy cloud? The path of a bird? A giant alien piece of string? Whatever it is, it just looks like it’s having a good time up there.

And the colors – the black against the yellow, opposite the French flag colors with some green on the bottom… all wonderfully balanced.

So happy Friday!


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