Davis was inspired by the landscape of the fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Unlike many of his contemporaries noted for their views of the "American Scene," however, Davis refused to paint that picturesque town in a traditional manner. In 'Sand Cove,' he adapted a standard view of the sea - waves rolling across rocks and shore - to the stylistic possibilities of modern art. He used opaque watercolor - gouache - to form the flat colors and crisp planes of land, sea, and sky. The colors, as strong in the foreground as in the background, along with the bold marks and patterns across forms, help to flatten the space and deny traditional atmospheric perspective. Davis considered the popular sounds and rhythms of jazz, as well as colorfully aggressive advertising labels and signs, elements of American culture fit to inspire the modern artist. His exposure to Pablo Picasso's cubism of the 1920's is also evident in this work's saturated hues and graphic shapes, and the ambiguous form upon the beach may reveal his interest in the work of surrealist, Joan Miro.
Date of Birth
Gouache on cream wove paper
15 x 19 5/8 in. (38.1 x 49.8475 cm.)
Bequest of Miss Marie Weeks
© Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY