Arms Up


Arthur B. Davies (1862-1928), Arms Up (also entitled Portrait J), drypoint, 1916, signed in pencil lower left.  Reference: Czestochowski 36, second state (of 2).  Total printing unknown but small. In generally good condition, the matrix fine, with margins (soiling in margins, margins cut irregularly and with remains of prior hinging and tape verso), 4 13/16 x 3 1/2, the sheet approx. 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches, archival matting.

A fine rich impression of this great rarity, carefully printed with extensive burr from the drypoint work.

Although Czestochowski accounts for 9 impressions in public collections, we know of no impressions to have reached the market in recent history.

This is one of Davies’s great cubist gems, done in the short period just after the New York Armory Show of 1913 (which he helped organize) and his later artistic periods. The first state of Arms Up is a well drawn realistic portrait of a model; in the second state the design is expanded with rich drypoint, and multiple overlapping cubist planes and moving directional lines. In this impression there are several layers of color as well (all done with the drypoint needle), ranging from near white to shades of grey to rich black.