American painter and printmaker Stuart Davis was born in 1894 in Philadelphia. His father was the art editor of the “Philadelphia Press”. Davis studied under Robert Henri in New York from 1909 to 1912. His early works chronicle urban life in the streets, saloons and theatres in the style of the Ash-can School. Davis published illustrations in the left- wing magazine “The Masses” between 1913 and 1916 and in its successor, “The Liberator” in the 1920s.
In 1918, Davis served as a mapmaker with special commission under the Army Intelligence Department preparing materials for the peace conference. Davis moved to New Mexico in 1923 and began experimenting with Cubism. After spending a year in Paris, he developed a distinctive style that was all his own.
In 1928 and 1929 Davis created an innovative series of four lithographs that are among the most highly regarded prints of the first half of the 20th century. During the 1930s, he became the art editor of the Artists’ Congress, “Art Front” magazine and completed several major murals for the W.P.A. Federal Arts Project. He also began experimenting with color printmaking in 1939.
Davis was the first major artist commissioned by the United States Post Office to design a commemorative postage stamp in 1964. The stamp was issued six months after his death, during the same year that he died.