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 Cecil Clark Davis  (1877 - 1955)

About: Cecil Clark Davis


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Lived/Active: New York/California/Illinois/Massachusetts      Known for: portrait and figure painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Cecil Davis
1877 (Chicago, Illinois)
1955 (Marion, Massachusetts)

New York/California/Illinois/Massachusetts

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portrait and figure painting

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San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Portrait artist Cecil Clark Davis was born in Chicago in 1877. Primarily self-taught, she painted from the age of sixteen. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago for three months, and received helpful criticism from John Singer Sargent and other painter friends. She was the first wife of Richard Harding Davis (she received his engagement ring from Europe via messenger), and painted in various parts of the world when she accompanied him during his war involvements. Her summers were usually spent in Marion, Massachusetts, where she painted while her author husband sketched.

Her works were admired by the leading painters of her time. She was a member of the Chicago Society of Artists, the Arts Club of Chicago, the Colony Club, the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, and the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York. She won the portrait prize of the Chicago Municipal Art League in 1918, the gold medal of the Salon of Rio de Janeiro with a portrait of Mrs. A. T. Stewart in 1920, the gold medal of the Art Club of Philadelphia, in 1925, and the portrait prize of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors in 1926.

Her portrait of Mrs. Armitage Whitman is a striking and satisfactory portrayal of an unusual woman. Other subjects included Molla Mallory, Miss Marjorie Clemmens, Dr. Roster Kennedy, Joan DAvigdon, Mrs. Alfred McIntyre, Mrs. Walter Damrosch, and Thereese DHennesdael, dressed in an ancient costume with coat of arms. Cecil Davis feeling for design can be felt in the majority of her works.

(Information on the biography above is based on writings from the book, "Contemporary American Portrait Painters," Illustrating and Describing the Work of Fifty Living Artists, by Cuthbert Lee.)

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Chicago, IL on July 12, 1877. Cecil was from the socially prominent Clark family when she wed author Richard H. Davis in 1899 (a bridesmaid was actress Ethel Barrymore and an usher was Charles Dana Gibson. ). Divorced in 1912, she then studied at the AIC and soon was active in Chicago’s art scene. She was a resident of Santa Barbara, CA in 1932 and Marion, MA until her death there on Sept. 12, 1955. Exh: Chicago Arts Club, 1912-32 (medals); AIC, 1914-17; Salon, Rio de Janeiro, 1920 (gold medal); Philadelphia Art Club, 1925 (gold medal); SFAA, 1932; Faulkner Gallery (Santa Barbara), 1934; Calif.-Pacific Int'l Expo (San Diego), 1935; Palos Verdes AA, 1935; Allied Arts Festival, LACMA, 1936.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
California Arts and Architecture list, 1932; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; NY Times, 9-14-1955 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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