Lot 8
  • 8

Stuart Davis 1892 - 1964

250,000 - 450,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Stuart Davis
  • New York Street
  • Signed Stuart Davis (lower right); also signed and dated Stuart Davis/Oct. 1941 on the stretcher
  • Oil on canvas
  • 11 by 16 inches
  • (28 by 40.6 cm)


The Downtown Gallery, New York
Richard Loeb, 1945 (and sold: Sotheby's, New York, December 4, 1986, lot 280, illustrated)
Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Washington, D.C., The Labor Department Building, National Art Week Exhibition, November 1941
New York, The Downtown Gallery, Stuart Davis: Selected Paintings, February 1943, no. 14
Chicago, Illinois, The Arts Club of Chicago, Three Contemporary Americans: Karl Zerbe, Stuart Davis, Ralston Crawford, February 1945, no. 2
Kansas City, Missouri, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum of Art, Exhibition of Paintings by Louis Bouche, Stuart Davis, Joe Jones, Doris Rosenthal, Walter Stuempfig, Max Weber, April 1945


Stuart Davis's account book, November 7, 1941, pp. 60-61
Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski, Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven, Connecticut, 2007, vol. III, no. 1640, p. 330, illustrated in color

Catalogue Note

New York Street
By Diane Kelder

During his long career, Stuart Davis was the consummate painter of modern American life. His idiosyncratic vernacular Cubism drew inspiration from the streets of New York, advertising, consumer culture and jazz. A distinctive feature of his methodology was Davis’s reassessment of earlier works, a practice which intensified in the last two decades of his life.

Completed in October 1941 New York Street is based on House and Street, 1931, a larger canvas which had been acquired nine months earlier by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Years later, the artist would characterize its bi-partite composition as a “mental collage.” The left side of New York Street retains the main elements of the earlier painting such as the street sign and the Bell Telephone logo which provided clues to the location, whereas SMITH, a timely reference to the state’s former governor is playfully replaced by the rather commonplace JONES. The right side, while repeating the curving structure and grids of the Third Avenue El against a background of office buildings, now features a fairly ornate armchair.

Its rich palette of turquoise, orange and pink, decorative flourishes and painterly execution distinguish New York Street from the hard-edged brightness of its predecessor. Appropriately, the canvas was shown in 1943 at the legendary Downtown Gallery where House and Street had made its first appearance.

Sotheby’s would like to thank Diane Kelder for writing the catalogue essay for the present lot.  

Diane Kelder is a Professor Emerita at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.