Against Green


Arthur B. Davies (1862-1928), Against Green (also Three Figure Composition, Figures Against Green), soft ground etching and aquatint, 1918, signed in pencil lower right; also titled lower margin “Figures Against Green.” Reference: Czestochowski 58, fifth state (of 6). From an edition of unknown size, but according to Czestochowski “unknown but small.” In generally good condition, the matrix in very good condition,¬†oil and slight light staining in margins and verso, remains of prior hinging, archival matting. Printed on an ivory laid paper, with margins, 7 13/16 x 11 7/8, the sheet 10 x 14 3/8 inches.

A fine strong impression, with good contrast among the varying shades of aquatint.

At this stage of his printmaking career Davies had for the most part abandoned the cubist idiom he had experimented with after his involvement in the Armory Show of 1913, and reverted to the expressive symbolism and mysticism characteristic of much of his earlier work. Of this work artist Marsden Hartley wrote: “Often you have the sensation of looking through a Renaissance window upon a Greek world – a world of Platonic verities in calm relation….Arthur B. Davies is a lyric poet…He is mystic only in the sense that perhaps all lyrical poetry is mystic, since it strives for union with the universal soul in things.”

When Davies produced Against Green he was probably the best known American artist, a towering figure who was the critical influence in bringing the Armory Show of 1913 to the United States. Today his prints, generally issued in small numbers and not editioned, can be found in all important museum print rooms in the United States, but are rarely encountered in the art market.