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PRINT May 1974

Fooling the Eye

WILLIAM M. DAVIS IS NOT one of the major heroes in the history of American painting. The only comprehensive show ever devoted to his work lasted three days, October 16–18, 1971, in the rooms of the Historical Society of Greater Port Jefferson, Long Island, and the catalogue (Melville A. Kitchin, Port Jefferson’s Foremost Painter, W. M. Davis, 1829–1920) for it has just appeared, in the spring of 1974, thereby establishing something of a record for time lag between exhibition and publication. He was a follower of George Henry Durrie and of William Sidney Mount, but at one point he broke through to an astonishing prediction of Pop art, and is the earliest of the several 19th-century painters whose parallels to Pop are so striking as to suggest a line of descent between them and the Lichtensteins, Warhols, and Jim Dines of the present century.

The picture in question, now at The Suffolk Museum

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