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 John Watson Davis  (1870 - 1959)

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Lived/Active: New York/California / France      Known for: book, magazine and religious illustration, commercial art

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J. Watson Davis is primarily known as John Watson Davis

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John Watson Davis   (1870-1959)

John Watson Davis had a career for six decades as an illustrator; in addition to his religious commissions, his drawings appeared in Zane Grey novels, in editions of Sherlock Holmes tales and Bluebeard, and in other books and magazines.  His father was John Steeple Davis, also a book illustrator.  

Born in New York, Davis moved with his family to Paris when he was ten years old, where he received his art training.  This was a time when many artists from North America and elsewhere flocked to Paris, then the pre-eminent city for the visual arts, to study with masters in schools that emphasized rendering of the human form.  

Davis returned to Brooklyn when he was in his twenties, and began his commercial artist career.  To avoid confusion with other artists named “John W. Davis,” he began signing his work “J. Watson Davis.”  He married Agnes Danforth, with whom he had four children; they subsequently moved to Hollis, New York.  Davis was living in California at the time of his death.

Submitted by Edward P. Bentley, Art Historian, East Lansing, Michigan

Biography from the Georgetown University Art Collection; supplied to them by Mrs. Adele Davis Durant, daughter of the artist.

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