Stunning Davis Painting on Display in Gallery Bearing His Name
This summer, Mystic Museum of Art received the painting The Clearing by Charles H. Davis. The work comes as a bequest from the late Margaret Howe Kitchings. While any work by Davis is notable on its own, it is profoundly significant to the Museum, as it was Davis who first founded the Mystic Art Colony and who drew the artists that would, in 1913, help him co-found the Mystic Art Association. To celebrate and honor the artist and the bequest, Mystic Museum of Art is displaying the work as a stand alone exhibition in the central gallery that bears Davis’ name.
Davis changed his style several times throughout his career. In his early career, Davis was regarded as a leading Tonalist painter. Tonalism was an American art movement that was popular between 1880 and 1915. Artists painting in this style would typically focus on landscape scenes, which found precedence in the French Barbizon, and paint in unified tonal value. Tonalist painters aimed to create harmonious application of color, and evoke a poetic mood. Tonalism was regarded as more American than Impressionism and developed around the same time.
The Clearing, dating from c. 1915, is a wonderful example of Davis’s mid-career style. At the turn of the 20th century, Davis began to reject the Tonalist style, which characterized his early works, for a brightened palette influenced by Impressionism. Additionally, it was during this time period which he began to place heavy emphasis on a bright, cloud filled sky in his works. Davis was so well known for this trait that this type of sky became known as a “Davis sky.”
The Clearing, c. 1915
Oil on canvas, 42 x 34 inches
Mystic Museum of Art Permanent Collection
Bequest of Margaret Howe Kitchings
For more information on Davis and the history of Mystic Museum of Art visit here.