Gene Davis


Gene Davis was an American abstract painter. Best known for his use of multicolored vertical stripes throughout his body of work, Davis was a major contributor in the Color Field and Post-Painterly Abstraction movements, and prominent figure of the Washington Color School. Born on August 22, 1920 in Washington, D.C., he initially pursued a career as a sportswriter and turned to art in 1949. His early paintings were formally inclined towards musical abstraction, creating a sense of rhythm through visual alliteration inspired in part by the work of Paul Klee. After gaining popularity and critical attention during the 1960s, Davis began experimenting with scale and made public installations throughout the 1970s, including the 1972 Franklin's Footpath, monumental stripes painted on the street in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Simultaneously, he produced minuscule "micro-paintings," often no larger than half an inch in either direction. A lifelong Washington, D.C. resident, Davis died in his hometown on April 6, 1985, and his work is included among the collections of important institutions such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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