In this large-scale black and white painting, Davis combined the view through a windshield with the reflection from a mirror. Davis often revisited themes and compositions from earlier works and this composition is drawn from his work of the 1930s, including Drugstore Reflection, c. 1932, in the Vilcek Collection, illustrating his longstanding fascination with the depiction of reflections and views through windows in his work.
Davis began this large-scale black and white painting on June 14, 1955. For four days he studied the drawing in relation to a theory he called “Tone-Calligraphy.” Davis believed that just as color can have a tone, so could line, based on the thickness of the line and its complexity. Study for Untitled (Black and White Variation on Windshield Mirror), in the Harvard Art Museums, reveals that Davis considered adding color to the composition, writing “Red and Yellow,” “Black and Green,” and “Blue,” around a sketch of the composition. Over a year later, on July 27, 1956, Davis returned to the work, and in his words “Made it move.” For the next month he recorded the addition of the words “EASY,” CAT,” and “ANY” to the painting.
Estate of the Artist;
[Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York, NY];
[Owings-Dewey Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM];
The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, 2005-2008;
Gift to The Vilcek Foundation, 2008;
New York. Lawrence Rubin. Stuart Davis: Major Drawings on Canvas and Paper from 1928 to 1964. January 30-February 27, 1971, cat. no. 15.
New York. Salander O’Reilly Galleries. Stuart Davis: Black and White. November 6-December 28, 1985, ill. np., cat. no. 2.
Chicago. Terra Museum of American Art. The Drawings of Stuart Davis: The Amazing Continuity (December 12, 1992-February 7, 1993); Middlebury, Vermont. Middlebury College Museum of Art (March 30-May 2, 1993); San Antonio, Texas. Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum (May 23-July 18, 1993); Miami, Florida. Center for the Fine Arts (August 7-September 19, 1993); Andover, Massachusetts. Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy (October 17-December 30, 1993); Omaha, Nebraska. Joslyn Art Museum (February 12-April 10, 1994); Washington, D.C. The Phillips Collection (May-July 1994); cat. no. 87, p. 28, ill. p. 127.
Koriyama, Japan. Koriyama City Museum of Art. Stuart Davis Retrospective (July 8-August 6, 1995); Shiga, Japan. Shiga Museum of Modern Art (August 12-October 1, 1995); Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum (October 10-November 26, 1995); pp. 115, 164, ill. p. 115, cat. no. 73.
New York. Salander O’Reilly Galleries. From Corot to Poons: 19th and 20th Century Gallery Selections. April 29-May 17, 1997 (checklist).
Santa Fe. Gerald Peters Gallery. The Black and Whites of Stuart Davis. June 14-July 22, 2002, (pamphlet) color ill. n.p. cover (detail).
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. Long-term loan, 2011-2013.
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. Opening Abstraction. June 14, 2013-June 29, 2014.
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection (February 8-May 3, 2015); Phoenix. Phoenix Art Museum (June 5-September 6, 2015); Santa Fe. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (September 25, 2015-January 10, 2016).
St. Petersburg, Florida. Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. Long-term loan, August 2016-August 2018.
Corpus Christi. The Art Museum of South Texas. Masterpieces of American Modernism from the Vilcek Collection of American Art. September 13, 2018-January 6, 2019.
Dayton. The Dayton Art Institute. Long-term loan, January 2019-January 2022.
St. Peter, MN. The Hillstrom Museum of Art. Stuart Davis in Black & White. September 12-November 6, 2022.
Kelder, Diane. Stuart Davis. New York: Praeger, 1971, ill. n.p., no. 37, as Study for Windshield Mirror.
Raynor, Vivian. “Art: ‘Drawn’ Paintings in Stuart Davis Show,” New York Times, November 22, 1985, C26.
Camper, Fred. “Essentials of Seeing,” Chicago Reader, January 15, 1993.
MacMillan, Kyle. “Exhibit Draws on 2nd Facet of Artist,” Denver Post, July 5, 2002, section FF, p. 4, as Untitled (Variation on Windshield Mirror).
Boyajian, Ani and Mark Rutkoski eds. Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007, vol. 3, pp. 412-413, color ill. p. 413 cat. no. 1694.
Smith, Jerry N. “Auto-America: The Automobile and American Art, circa 1900-1950,” PhD Dissertation, University of Kansas, 2012, p. 166, 200, fig. 5.50.
Agee, William C. and Lewis Kachur. Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection. London: Merrell, 2013, pp. 19, 204-205, 264, ill. pp. 205-207.
Watts Jr., James D. “Modern masterworks: Philbrook exhibit brings American masters to Tulsa,” Tulsa World, February 12, 2015.