Modern and Contemporary
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Gene Davis (American, 1920–1985),
Friar Tuck , 1978
acrylic on canvas, 89 ¾ x 210 7/8 in.; 227.97 x 535.62 cm
Gift of Ak-Sar-Ben in Honor of N. Philips Dodge, King of Ak-Sar-Ben 1979-80, 1980.52

Davis first tried his unschooled hand at painting at the age of twenty-nine. He developed his signature work, the stripe painting, in the company of the Washington Color School, a loose, regional group that included Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. Friar Tuck is a quintessential Davis stripe painting. Utilizing a cool palette, the artist scattered vertical stripes of varying widths and colors across the large, unprimed canvas to create a work that is soft and light. Davis’ titles generally related to a dominant color, the sites where his works were painted, or to popular literature and culture. The character of Friar Tuck, from the legend of Robin Hood, conjures up an image of delight and merriment that can be related to the feeling derived from the work itself.

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