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 Alan Caldwell Davoll  (1898 - 1979)

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Lived/Active: Michigan/New York/Illinois / Mexico      Known for: illustration, painting, prints, architecture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

This following biography was researched, compiled, and written by Geoffrey K. Fleming, Director, Southold Historical Society, Southold, NY.

ALAN CALDWELL DAVOLL (August 24, 1898 - September 12, 1979)

Architect, illustrator, painter, and printmaker.  Alan Caldwell Davoll was the son of Mary Agnew Pyle (b. 1870) and David Lake Davoll Jr. (b. 1869), a noted pharmacist and chemist.  Alan was born in Illinois but was raised, at least partially, in Michigan and Newport, Rhode Island.  It was in Newport that his father (and later Alan himself) operated the family's successful pharmacy located at Thames and Pelham Streets.

Though his early artistic training remains unknown, he eventually attended Columbia University, where, during World War I he took part in the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) curriculum.  According to Columbia University, in 1917, the U.S. Army commissioned the Columbia faculty to come up with a "war issues" curriculum.  Essentially a body of students in uniform who attended regular classes, the Student Army Training Corps (S.A.T.C.) was active at Columbia and at colleges and universities across the country. 

In the early 1920's Alan was in Detroit, Michigan studying and working. Exactly where he was studying while living in Michigan is unclear, though there were a number of important art and architectural associations at which he could have done so.  He was employed at one of the auto factories in Detroit where he was listed as an executive in training.  He appears not to have continued with these studies, and by the early 1930's he had moved to New York City where he worked as an architectural researcher and architectural renderer (illustrator). 

In 1931 he won a prize for his unselected design of the program for the famous Beaux Arts Ball that took place annually in New York City.  At the time he was a member of the New York Architectural Club.  Two years later, in 1933, Davoll illustrated (with J. Floyd Yewell) a bird's eye perspective drawing showing the proposed development plan for the University of Texas at Austin.

He provided at least one illustration for an article in Pencil Points in 1940 that was authored by noted architectural draftsman Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962).  In his spare time he was a printmaker, a practice he began at least by the early 1930's from when known prints and etchings are dated. 

Another of his watercolor illustrations appeared in the book Since 1845: A History of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company by Mildred Stone, which was published by Rutgers University in 1957.  The author called Davoll " . . . an artist celebrated for his architectural paintings."  One other of his works is included in the book The French in Texas by Francois Lagarde, published in 2003.

By the 1950's Davoll was living in Hackettstown, New Jersey, where he operated a successful architecture business.  In 1959 he was invited to lecture at the Columbia University School of Architecture.  At the time one publication remarked that he was "a nationally recognized architect."

Alan C. Davoll died in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1979 and was returned to the United States and buried in Calverton National Cemetery, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York.  His works are included in the Alexander Architectural Archives of the University of Texas at Austin, TX; and many other public and private collections.


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