Gene Davis
American, 1920‑1985
Half Lemon, 1969
Acrylic on canvas
68 1/2 × 97 1/2 in. (174 × 247.6 cm.)
Gift of the New Art Collectors  1970.32

Known as one of the leading figures in the Washington Color School of the 1960s, Gene Davis became famous for his abstract stripe paintings. Although his lines are carefully executed, Davis’ selection of colors was improvisational and was not planned in advance. Rather, Davis compared himself to a jazz musician who plays by ear, saying that he approaches painting as “playing by eye.” When looking at his paintings, Davis recommends, “Instead of simply glancing at the work, select a specific color…and take the time to see how it operates across the painting. Enter the painting through the door of a single color, and you can understand what my painting is all about.”