Ecstasy (or Leda) – First State Painted Working Proof

Arthur B. Davies (1862-1928), Ecstasy (alternate title: Leda), 1916, drypoint, with the stamp and initials NMD [Niles Davies, a descendant] lower right. Reference: Price 165, Czestochowski 30, first state (of 3, but cf discussion). Edition size unknown but small. In very good condition, printed on a very thin cream wove paper, the sheet printed in the manner of chine colle, on a backing card, full sheet, printed on a thin ivory wove paper, 3 7/8 x 3 inches, the full sheet 8 x 7 1/4 inches.

This impression is about 1/8 inch wider than the later state impressions described by Czestochowski (as well as our later state impression, described in an adjoining web-site entry).

A very fine impression of the first state, with substantial burr, and painted over by Davies in brown, blue, black as a guide to further states.

One of the earliest of Davies’ modernistic experiments, created at a time when Davies was generally regarded as the preeminent American artist of his generation. After the Armory Show of 1913, Davies experimented with various modernist and cubist perspectives; Ecstacy is one of the earliest and most successful of these explorations.

Marsden Hartley said of Davies: Often you have the sensation of looking through a Renaissance window upon a Greek world – a world of Platonic verities in calm relation with each other.