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Arthur Bowen Davies


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(b Utica, NY, 26 Sept. 1862; d Florence, 24 Oct. 1928).

American painter, printmaker, and tapestry designer. During his lifetime he had a high reputation as an artist, but he is now remembered mainly for his role in promoting avant-garde art (even though his own work was fairly conservative). He was a member of The Eight and president of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors that was created to organize the Armory Show; his enthusiasm for the project was largely responsible for the scope of the show and the force of its impact. His own work was varied and embraced remarkably diverse influences (he was a man of wide culture and unlike the other members of The Eight he did not concentrate on modern urban scenes). In his early career he showed an enthusiasm for the Pre-Raphaelites, Whistler, and Puvis de Chavannes, and specialized in idyllic landscapes inhabited by dreamlike, visionary figures of nude women or mythical animals (Unicorns, 1906, Met. Mus., New York). After the Armory Show his work displayed superficial Cubist influence for a while, but in the 1920s he returned to a more traditional style.

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