Stark Davis
1885-1950

Theme/Style – Animals, figurative art, illustrations

Media – Oils, gouaches

Artistic Focus – Stark Davis’s vivid, precise, and imaginative use of birds and animals as a frequent vehicle for his artistic skill was his trademark. Though his extremely decorative painting style assured him a steady income as a commercial artist and illustrator, it perhaps prevented him from receiving the recognition he rightly deserved as a fine, inventive, and highly original painter.

Career Highlights –

• Winthrop Stark Davis was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1885.
• Davis subsequently lived and worked in Chicago, where he was affiliated with several arts institutions including the Palette and Chisel Club.
• Davis exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1924 and at the Chicago Galleries Association in 1930, winning prizes in both shows.
• During the 1920s and 1930s Stark Davis’s illustrations appeared on covers of the Ladies’ Home Journal, and in numerous advertisements.
• From 1927 to 1929, Davis’s artistic and colorful “Bird Series” of ads for Lincoln automobiles ran in popular magazines such as Country Life and Home and Garden. A typical ad would feature a Lincoln sedan or coupe in the foreground, with a peacock, a wide-eyed red bird of paradise, or a condor dramatically filling the background or framing the scene.
• During his time in Chicago, Stark Davis would make trips to Santa Barbara, California, and subsequently relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked at the Disney Animation Studios and exhibited at the Ainslie Gallery in 1936.
• By 1947 Davis had retired from painting and was living in Morro Bay, a seaside town on California’s Central Coast.
• Stark Davis passed away in Marin County, California, in 1950.

back