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Arthur Bowen Davies, A Measure of Dreams, ca. 1908

A Measure of Dreams, ca. 1908

Arthur Bowen Davies (1862 – 1928)

Born in Utica, New York, Arthur Davies gained a reputation for ethereal figure paintings, ones that expressed lightness and mysticism. He was also a principal organizer of the 1913 Armory Show that revolutionized American art by introducing modernism to the viewing public.

He attended the Chicago Academy of Design and from 1879 to 1882, traveled in the West, to Colorado and Mexico City where he worked as a drafting civil engineer. He briefly attended the Chicago Art Institute, and in 1885 moved to New York City where he studied at the Art Students League and Gotham Art Students League. He supported himself as a billboard painter, engineering draftsman, and magazine illustrator.

In 1893, he made the first of many trips to Europe, visiting Holland, Paris, and London. He particularly studied the Dutch realist painters, the Maris brothers. He settled in Congers, New York and from there traveled extensively throughout the United States.

He developed a style that combined the visionary with Symbolism with elements of Tonalism, Art Nouveau, and Cubism and became increasingly interested in expressing a feeling of lightness in figural compositions.

He also did printmaking, having begun in the 1880s and producing some two-hundred graphic works between 1916 and his death in 1928.


His work is represented in over 100 museums including:
Addison Gallery of American Art
Allen Memorial Art Museum
Arizona State University Art Museum
Arnot Art Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Ball State University Museum of Art
Boca Raton Museum of Art
Brandywine River Museum
Butler Institute of American Art
Cantor Arts Center, Stanford
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie
Cheekwood Museum of Art & Botanical Garden
Chrysler Museum of Art
Cincinnati Art Museum
Colby College Museum of Art
Colorado Historical Society
Crocker Art Museum
Delaware Art Museum
Denver Art Museum
Everson Museum Of Art
Flint Institute of Arts
Frederick R Weisman Art Museum
George Walter Vincent Smith Museum
Georgia Museum of Art
Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art
High Museum of Art
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Hunter Museum of American Art
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Jack S Blanton Museum of Art
Joslyn Art Museum
LaSalle University Art Museum
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Lyman Allyn Museum
Maier Museum of Art
Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum
Mead Art Museum
Memorial Art Gallery
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Michael C Carlos Museum
Michelson Museum of Art
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Musees Nationaux Paris
Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia
Museum of Art at Brigham Young University
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of New Mexico
Muskegon Museum of Art

National Gallery of Art
Neuberger Museum of Art
New Jersey State Museum
New Orleans Museum of Art
Oakland Museum of California
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Phoenix Art Museum
Portland Art Museum
Reading Public Museum
Rhode Island School of Design-Museum of Art
Robert Hull Fleming Museum
Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College
San Diego Museum of Art
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Sheldon Museum of Art
Sheldon Swope Art Museum
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Telfair Museum of Art
The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie
The Art Museum, Princeton University
The Brooklyn Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art-Ohio
The Columbus Museum-Georgia
The Dayton Art Institute
The Detroit Institute of Arts
The Hickory Museum of Art
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
The John H. Vanderpoel Art Association
The Montclair Art Museum
The Museum of Modern Art
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Newark Museum
The Parrish Art Museum
The Phillips Collection
The Toledo Museum of Art
The University of Arizona Museum of Art
The University of Michigan Museum of Art
The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
University of Wyoming Art Museum
USC Fisher Gallery
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
Worcester Art Museum
Yale University Art Gallery

Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Artists

Biography from the Archives of AskART.