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 Edmund Linton (E.L.) Davison  (1877 - 1944)



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Lived/Active: Kansas/Iowa      Known for: landscape and figure painting

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Ad Code: 3
Edmund Linton Davison
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born Wapello, IA, 1877; died Wichita, July 7, 1944. Painter, specialla landscape and figure. Banker. Moved to Wichita as a child where his father founded the Commercial Bank. Studied at the Art Institute of Chicago for three years before returning to Wichita to join his father’s bank. Married Faye Davison in 1905. Took a semester leave from the bank to study with Birger Sandzén at Bethany College.

While 60 spending summers in Taos, NM, the Davisons became friends with many of the Taos artists and opened their home to them as the artists traveled to or from Taos.

Although Davision exhibited in nationally juried shows, he never sold a painting but instead gave his work away. The Davisons built a substantial collection of paintings by members of Taos Society of Artists which was donated to the Wichita Art Museum.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
Sain, Lydia. Kansas Artists, compiled by Lydia Sain from 1932 to 1948. Typed Manuscript, 1948.; American Art Annual. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1898-1947 25; Reinbach, Edna, comp. “Kansas Art and Artists”, in Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society. v. 17, 1928. p. 571-585.; Festival of Kansas Arts and Crafts. Catalog: Arts and Crafts of Kansas: an Exhibition held in Lawrence, Feb. 18-22, 1948 in the Community Building. Lawrence: World Co., 1948(il.); American Art Annual. New York: American Federation of Arts, 1898-1947I (August 20, 1922); Annual Exhibition of the Artists of Kansas City and Vicinity (Kansas City Art Institute, 1915-21) 1917, 1920-21; Midwestern Artists’ Exhibition (Kansas City: Kansas City Art Institute, 1920-1942 Mines, Cynthia. For the Sake of Art: The Story of an Art Movement in Kansas. s.l. Mines, 1979.) 1922, 1924, 1928; Porter, Dean A, Teresa Hayes Ebie, Suzan Campbell. Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950. South Bend, IN: Snite Museum of Art, 1999., Dean A, Teresa Hayes Ebie, Suzan Campbell. Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950. South Bend, IN: Snite Museum of Art, 1999.; AskArt,, accessed Sept. 2, 2005; "" Family Search. Version 2.5.0. Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2002. Accessed July 14, 2006; Dawdy 3: Dawdy, Doris Ostrander. Artists of the American West: A Biographical Dictionary. Volume 3. Chicago: Swallow Press, 1985..
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:
E.L. Davison

As the eldest son of one of Wichita’s first bankers, Edmund Davison acquiesced to his father’s wishes that he takes over the family business of running the Commercial Bank. However, before he assumed his duties at the bank, Davison persuaded his father to allow him to pursue his personal interest in art. After graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, Davison attended three years of classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There he mastered the fundamentals of academic drawing.

Back home in Wichita in 1905, Davison found friends who stimulated his artistic ambitions. Prominent among them was Wichita’s first professional artist, John Noble, who would later become a major figure in the art colony of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Davison also had close ties with Ralph P. Martin, owner of Martin’s Art Store where he sold paint and operated what was then Wichita’s only art gallery. Davison admired and later collected the paintings of Martin’s gifted sister Pegus Martin Nichols. It was also in Martin’s shop that Davison first saw a painting by Birger Sandzén. Davison not only bought the painting, he immediately made the Lindsborg painter’s acquaintance. Davison later took a semester’s leave of absence from the bank to study with Sandzén.

In 1933 when he was fifty-five years old Davison retired from banking in order to devote himself exclusively to painting. His mature work reveals an accomplished and gifted painter who readily absorbed the more progressive stylistic directions of his mentors in Kansas and in the Taos School. Davison’s study with Sandzén converted him to an expressive use of color. Davison emulated his friend Walter Ufer’s use of impasto and gestural brushwork as a means of creating expressive form. Davison also followed Kenneth Adams and Adams’ master Andrew Dasburg in the adoption of a simplification of form based upon Cezanne’s proto-cubist style.

Edmund Davison often participated in exhibitions organized by the Taos Society painters. He exhibited his work in such nationally prominent venues as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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Edmund Davison is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Taos Pre 1940

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