The Mellow Pad
The starting point for this lively patterned abstraction was an earlier canvas by Stuart Davis entitled House and Street, 1931. Treating each subsequent version as a riff on a jazz theme, Davis moved further and further away from his original composition to establish independent, rhythmic color patterns that retained only a few direct visual cues to the original composition. Davis theorized that abstract compositions could communicate to the viewer something of the subject from which they were derived. This composition embodies the “mellow pad”—jazz lingo for the “cool” place to be. Jazz rhythms were a potent inspiration for Davis, and their presence added a distinctly American component to his abstractions.
- Artist: Stuart Davis, American, 1892-1964
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: 1945-1951
- Dimensions: 26 1/4 x 42 1/8 in. (66.7 x 107 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed lower right: "Stuart Davis"
- Inscriptions: Signed, dated, and inscribed on discarded original stretcher verso: "THE MELLOW PAD STUART DAVIS 1945-1950-1"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Modern Life, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 1992.11.6
- Credit Line: Bequest of Edith and Milton Lowenthal
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Stuart Davis (American, 1892-1964). The Mellow Pad, 1945-1951. Oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 42 1/8 in. (66.7 x 107 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Edith and Milton Lowenthal, 1992.11.6
- Record Completeness: Best (86%)