Noah Davis - 20th c. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, July 2, 2020 | Phillips

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  • In Short

    “Talented and charismatic, with a knack for rallying people, Davis was inclusive in his art and his life. He gathered his family and friends around him and refused to commit to a single figurative style or to use photographic images in a formulaic way. Nearly every canvas here is different, and most have an interpretive and painterly openness. Your eyes and mind enter them easily and roam through the different layers of brushwork and narrative suggestion. There’s an unexpected optimism to all this. The paintings also dwell in silence, slow us down and hypnotize.”

    Roberta Smith

    Noah Davis, photo by Ed Templeton

    Painted in 2008, Noah Davis’s 100 Years of Entertainment 1-5 is a characteristic example of the artist’s lush, moody paintings of themes representative of African American life. Davis's decadent brushwork portrays the quotidian reveries of the urban dreamer; his surreal, sensitive works are marked by an unexpected optimism and their gentle immersion of the viewer into the somnambulistic world of the artist’s musings as much by their velvety surfaces. As such, the present work vividly portrays five vignettes consisting of various forms of entertainment in intense detail. Davis’s studies of various forms of enjoyment attest to the universality of our means of amusement and to the artist’s skillful rendition of his subjects. As Helen Molesworth prolcaims "Oh man, Noah Davis: That work speaks for itself.”[i]

    [i] Helen Molesworth, “Passages: Noah Davis (1983–2015)”, Artforum, October 6, 2015, online


    • Provenance

      Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles
      Nader Contemporary, Miami
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


100 Years of Entertainment 1-5

(i, iii, iv) signed "Noah Davis" on the reverse
(v) signed, titled and inscribed "a hundred year of entertainment #1 Noah Davis" on the reverse

oil and acrylic on canvas, in 5 parts
each 12 x 12 in. (30.5 x 30.5 cm)
overall 12 x 60 in. (30.5 x 152.4 cm)

Painted in 2008.

Full Cataloguing

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $137,500

Contact Specialist

Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York

1 212 940 1250

20th c. & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 2 July 2020