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 Will Rowland (John Wallace) Davis  (1879 - 1944)



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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Maine      Known for: comic art, etcher, illustrator

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Ad Code: 3
Will Rowland Davis
An example of work by Will Rowland (John Wallace) Davis
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Whistler House Museum of Art:
Will Rowland Davis

Will Rowland Davis was born on April 7, 1879 in Lincolnville, ME and died in 1944 while residing in Rockport, MA. He worked as a painter, photographer, etcher, craftsman, blockprinter, writer, illustrator, and publisher. Davis enjoyed comic art and experimented in many areas of drawing and painting, which included making his own paints. He worked in various media such as oil, watercolor, pen & ink, pastel, and charcoal.

"Village Down East" A Sketch Book by John Wallace — the pseudonym for Will Davis — was copyrighted in 1943 by Will Davis Publishers, Inc. Davis wrote and illustrated this book anonymously and changed the names of its characters, but the people and story were very real.

Davis remained a New Englander his whole life. Winters were spent in Boston while the summers were spent photographing and sketching Maine. In the early 1940s, Davis married a girl he knew from his art school days and they settled in Rockport, MA until he died a few years later. His address in 1929 was 18A, 53 Aldworth Street in Jamaica Plain, MA and, in 1934, he is listed as living in Boston.

Davis studied painting at the Cowels Art School in Boston with Joseph Rodefer De Camp (1858-1923) and at the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston with Edmund Charles Tarbell (1862-1938) and Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951). He was a member of the Copley Society in Boston; the North Shore Art Association in Gloucester, MA; the American Federation of Arts; and the Rockport Art Association from 1921 to 1944. Davis exhibited with the Society of Independent Artists in 1933 and, on occasion, with the Rockport Art Association.

Will Davis is represented in the collection of the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, MA and his "Capt. Smith" is at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, ME.

References: Who Was Who in American Art, vol. I, pages 152-153; Davenport's Art Reference 2001/2002, page 504; Mantle Fielding, 1986, page 207; Mallett, page 103; Dealer's Choice Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters... page 340; Artists of the Rockport Art Association, 1940; Farnsworth Art Museum Library; Whistler House Museum of Art files.

Peter Kostoulakos, ISA — Fine Art Consultant

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