Albert Davies Noah’s Ark
Albert Webster Davies (1889-1967), New Hampshire
oil on masonite
22" x 34"
signed "Davies" lower left
This painting is notable for its large size and rare subject matter.
Provenance: Kennedy Galleries, New York; Joseph D. and Janet M. Shein Collection, Philadelphia
Exhibition: Williamsburg, Virginia, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, “American Primitives by Albert Webster Davies,” 15 January – 14 February 1965; University Park, Pennsylvania, Palmer Museum of Art, “Wos Up Man?: Selections from the Joseph D. and Janet M. Shein Collection of Self-Taught Art,” 11 October 2005 – 12 February 2006.
Literature: J. Robinson, Wos Up Man?: Selections from the Joseph D. and Janet M. Shein Collection of Self-Taught Art (2005), p. 23.
Albert Webster Davies was born on a farm in Salem Depot, New Hampshire, in 1889 a relic of “a time in our American life now past.” Possessed with an inborn sense of design and feel for color, Davies constantly painted as a child and later worked as a window dresser and theater designer. He was briefly employed at a mental hospital where he befriended a patient, the landscape artist Albert Blakelock.
Davies retired at the age of sixty-five and turned to painting full-time, seeking to record the treasured memories of his early life. Robert Carlen, the esteemed Philadelphia gallerist who was an early champion of Edward Hicks and Horace Pippin among others, began representing Davies shortly thereafter. In 1965 Davies secured a one-man show at Kennedy Galleries in New York, followed by a show at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection in Williamsburg. As noted in the literature accompanying the exhibition, Davies’ “appreciation of early American architecture, his knowledge of early textile design, his working knowledge of the construction of carriages, sleds, barns, bandstands, county-fair sheds, churches, and his deep sympathy for the human comedy in its pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, all combine to lend his charming pictures an element of documentary value.”