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The Mellow Pad

Stuart Davis

American Art

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Imagining the New Nation’s Landscape, 1800–1880
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.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1945–1951
DIMENSIONS 26 1/4 x 42 1/8 in. (66.7 x 107 cm) frame: 32 1/2 × 49 1/2 × 3 11/16 in. (82.6 × 125.7 × 9.4 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"
CREDIT LINE Bequest of Edith and Milton Lowenthal
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 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.11.6_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1992.11.6_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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