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132

Stuart Davis

Closed Circuit

Property Sold to Benefit the O'Donnell Foundation

Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis

Closed Circuit

Closed Circuit

Authenticity guarantee

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Property Sold to Benefit the O'Donnell Foundation

Stuart Davis

1892 - 1964

Closed Circuit


signed Stuart Davis (upper right); titled, signed Stuart Davis and dated 1962 (in the outer margins)

casein and pencil on paper

11 by 13¼ in.

27.9 by 33.6 cm.

Executed in 1962.

The sheet is hinged to the support in two places along the reverse top edge. There are artist's pinholes in the margins and there are tape remnants from a former mounting along the reverse top edge.


Framed Dimensions: 20 1/2 by 22 3/4 in. (52.1 by 57.8 cm.)


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

[with] The Downtown Gallery, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Louis S. Hardin, Chicago (acquired from the above in 1963)
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
Private Collection, New York (acquired from the above in 1984)
Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above in 1988 by the present owner 
Karen Wilkin, Stuart Davis, New York, 1987, pl. 216, p. 207, illustrated 
Lowery Stokes Sims, Stuart Davis: American Painter, New York, 1992, fig. 80, p. 91, illustrated
Ani Boyajian and Mark Rutkoski, eds., Stuart Davis: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, New Haven, 2007, no. 1321, p. 706, illustrated
New York, The Downtown Gallery, 37th Annual Christmas Exhibition, 1962
Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum, 22nd Biennial International Watercolor Exhibition, 1963, no. 113 (as Closed Circuits)
New York, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Early 20th Century Masters, 1983
New York, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Master Drawings and Watercolors: 1883-1986, 1986, no. 22, illustrated
New York, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Important Early 20th Century American Paintings and Drawings, 1987
New York, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Master Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors, 1984-1987, 1987

Between 1961 and 1963, Stuart Davis produced a series of works based on a photograph he clipped from The New York Times in 1959. Captioned “A view of Carcassonne, France,” this photograph depicted a fortified village in the Occitanie region of France. With its arched entrances and double-walled fortifications, this medieval citadel captivated the draftsman in Davis. Closed Circuit, executed in 1962, is one of several drawings Davis produced in response to this neo-Gothic French village in his signature style of reduced forms applied in a vibrant palette.


In the late 1920s and 1930s, Davis engaged with architectural subject matter in a much more literal way. From the New York skyline to the quiet streets outside his studio at 50 rue Vercingétorix in the 14th arrondissement, Davis preoccupied himself with sketching his architectural surroundings for years. His earlier drawings from New York and Paris highlight Davis’s skill as a draftsman, while his later works such as Closed Circuit demonstrate a shift toward abstraction, and a growing interest in simplifying his compositions. Davis effectively utilizes his palette of green, red, yellow, black and white to transcribe the view of Carcassonne from the photograph into a harmonious and reduced arrangement of forms. The curvature of his linework softens the rigid stone exterior of the French castle and the overall simplification of forms speaks to Davis’s maturity as an artist and affinity for modernism in the 1960s. Davis ultimately completed seven different drawings from this photograph – each one compositionally unique and reflective of his mature style.