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 Cornelia Stuart Cassady Davis  (1868 - 1920)



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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: Indian ceremonial and portrait painting

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Ad Code: 3
Cornelia Stuart Cassady Davis
from Auction House Records.
The Navajo
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cleves, Ohio, Cornelia Cassidy Davis became a painter of Indian portraits of great ethnological values.

She began her career as a portrait painter of prominent easterners, having studied four years at the Cincinnati Art Academy as a pupil of Frank Duveneck. She later returned to the school as an Instructor from 1891 to 1897. That year she married Edward C. Davis, and for their honeymoon, they traveled to the Southwest, staying in remote areas on Indian reservations in New Mexico and Arizona.

For some time, the Davises were guests of Lorenzo Hubble and his wife, Lina, who were known for their hospitality at the Hubbell Trading Post to artists passing through Northern Arizona.  As a thank you to Lina Hubbell and payment for a long overdue bill, Davis sent her a painting of Hopi girls, Three Moqui Maidens, which is in the Hubbell Collection.

Being a friend of the Hubbells and staying at the trading post, gave Davis entry into many Navajo and Hopi homes, and her paintings became of ethnological importance.  They witnessed many of the most sacred ceremonies of the Indian tribes, and although it was her only trip West, the subject matter made her famous for its historic and ethnological value as well as for her obvious skill as a painter. 

After this trip, she lived in various places and exhibited widely including the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.  She finally settled in Cincinnati in 1905.  She was also a portrait painter of prominent easterners, and her work included one of President McKinley, that was permanently hung at Westminster Hall in London.  She was also honored when the Cincinnati Men's Art Club asked her to paint with them, the only woman so recognized.

Peggy and Harold Samuels, Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West
Martha Blue, Indian Trader: The Life and Times of J.L. Hubbell

Biography from Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site:
Cornelia Stuart Cassady-Davis (often referenced as "Davis, Cassady") was an American painter who was born in Cleves, Ohio on December 18, 1870.   She was a student of the Cincinnati Art Academy with Lutz, Noble and Duveneck.

Following marriage in 1897, Davis and her husband stayed at various places on Southwestern Indian reservations.  For awhile they were guests of Lorenzo Hubbell, famous for his hospitality to travelers, especially artists, passing through Northern Arizona.
Being a friend of Hubbell gave artists entrée to Navajo and Hopi homes, enabling them to do paintings of ethnographic, as well as artistic importance.  A distinguishing characteristic of Davis's is that she consistently made her initial "C" backwards.  Davis, who was a portrait painter of acknowledged talent, now seems better known for her work among these Indians than for her portraits of important persons, among whom was President William McKinley at the Westminster Central Hall in London.
The artworks of Davis are in the collections of Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio; Santa Fe Collection, El Tovar Gallery in Grand Canyon; Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado, Arizona; and Cincinnati Court House.  She was a member of Cincinnati Women's Art Club.  She received a price at the Osborne Competition in New York City, in 1906. 

Davis died on December 23, 1920 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Dawdy, Doris Ostrander.  Artists of the American West:  A Biographical Dictionary.  [1974] 3 vols.  Chicago: Swallow Press.  1985.
Falk, Peter Hastings.  Who Was Who in American Art.  Connecticut: Sound View Press.  1985.
Fielding, Mantle.  Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers.  Ed. by Glenn B. Optiz.  New York: Apollo Book.  1986.
Melton, Howard Eugene.  Melton Art Reference Library.  Oklahoma City: Melton Art Reference Library.  1993.
Samuels, Peggy and Harold.  Samuels' Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West.  New Jersey: Castle.  1985.

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