|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Setauket, New York William Davis was a painter of trompe l'oeil
still life, genre, and landscapes and was primarily self taught.
He trained as a boat builder in Port Jefferson, Long Island.|
Davis achieved national recognition in 1962 for three paintings based on the Civil War. The Neglected Picture,
a trompe l'oeil image of President Jefferson Davis in a frame behind
broken glass brought him great fame. The painting was widely
reproduced in print and postcard form. In 1868, Davis exhibited
still-life paintings at the National Academy of Design. From
1863-1871, he exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association.
1872, he moved to Long Island and never again exhibited in New York,
possibly because some of his painting was politically controversial.
associated with William Sidney Mount, and some persons found a strong
resemblance in their painting, suggesting that Davis copied from Mount.
Eva Greguski, "William Moore Davis", American Art Review, 12/2002, p. 118
|Biography from Questroyal Fine Art, LLC:|
|William M. Davis spent most of his life painting and living in the area
he loved best, Port Jefferson, Long Island. There he befriended
renowned genre painter William Sidney Mount, who lived nearby in Stony
Brook. Apparently self-taught, Davis was profoundly influenced by
Mount, who was one of the most respected painters in America at that
time. Although Davis was never a pupil of Mount's, surviving
letters between the two artists show that Mount often gave the younger
painter artistic advice and guidance.|
Davis opened a studio in New York City in 1868, but in 1872, he retur
ned permanently to the Port Jefferson area, where he was affectionately
known as "Painter Davis." Mount had died four years earlier, and to a
degree, Davis continued in his mentor's footsteps, providing locals
with paintings of villagers pursuing their daily tasks, the area's
quiet bays and coves, as well as boats anchored or at sea.
Davis exhibited at the National Academy of Design and the Brooklyn Art
Association while living in New York City. Once he returned to
Long Island, he exhibited exclusively in Port Jefferson, with the
exception of a one-man show in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1894.
According to the Bridgeport Daily Standard, Davis showed 135 of his works and had over 700 people in attendance.
A major retrospective titled Port Jefferson's Foremost Painter: W.M. Davis was held at the Historical Society Museum of Greater Port Jefferson in 1973.
Davis' works are housed in prestigious private collections and
institutions, including the Suffolk Museum, Stony Brook, N.Y; the
Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, and the New
York State Historical Society, Cooperstown.
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