"Doorway to Illusion" Original Etching by Arthur B. Davies, 1929

Arthur B. Davies (United States, 20th Century)

"Doorway to Illusion" Original Etching by Arthur B. Davies, 1929


An original soft ground etching and aquatint by American artist Arthur B. Davies (1862-1928), titled "Doorway to Illusion", 1919, iii/iiii (1929 printing). A posthumous edition of (iii/iii) was printed by Frank A. Nankivell in 1929. Limited edition of 200. These impressions are signed in pencil in the lower left by Nankivell and have an estate stamp of Davie's signature in the lower right. Light mat burn, otherwise in good condition. Sheet size: 12" x 9.5". Image size:8" x 6.75".

Arthur Bowen Davies (September 26, 1862 – October 24, 1928) was an avant-garde American artist and influential advocate of modern art in the United States c. 1910–1928.

Davies was born in Utica, New York. He was keenly interested in drawing when he was young and, at fifteen, attended a large touring exhibition in his hometown of American landscape art, featuring works by George Inness and members of the Hudson River School. The show had a profound effect on him. He was especially impressed by Inness's tonalist landscapes. After his family relocated to Chicago, Davies studied at the Chicago Academy of Design from 1879 to 1882 and briefly attended the Art Institute of Chicago, before moving to New York City, where he studied at the Art Students League. He worked as a magazine illustrator before devoting himself to painting.

In 1892, Davies married Virginia Meriwether, one of New York State's first female physicians. Her family, suspecting that their daughter might end by being the sole breadwinner of the family if she was to marry an impoverished artist, insisted that the bridegroom sign a prenuptial agreement, renouncing any claim on his wife's money in the event of divorce. (Davies would eventually become very wealthy through the sale of his paintings, though his prospects at thirty did not look encouraging.) Appearances notwithstanding, they were anything but a conventional couple, even aside from the fact that Davies was of a philandering nature. Virginia had eloped when she was young and had murdered her husband on her honeymoon when she discovered that he was an abusive drug addict and compulsive gambler, a fact that she and her family kept from Davies.

An urbane man with a formal demeanor, Arthur B. Davies was "famously diffident and retiring". He would rarely invite anyone to his studio and, later in life, would go out of his way to avoid old friends and acquaintances. The reason for Davies' reticence became known after his sudden death while vacationing in Italy in 1928: he had two wives (one legal, one common-law) and children by each of them, a secret kept from Virginia for twenty-five years.


Origin United States
Category Engravings
Period 20th Century

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