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James Edward Davis papers, 1917-1969

Davis, Jim, 1901-1974

Photographer, Painter, Filmmaker


Collection Information

Size: 3.4 Linear feet, (on 7 microfilm reels)

Summary: Correspondence; photographs; drawings; sketches and designs; typescripts; exhibition announcements and clippings.
REELS 430-433: Correspondence; ca. 1000 photographs of Davis's paintings, plastic mobiles, motion studies; 13 notebooks containing photos and notes on his films, visual design, plastics, Frank Lloyd Wright and other subjects; exhibition announcements; and clippings. Correspondents include Rosalind Kossoff (Director AF Films and FilmImages), John Marin, Frank Lloyd Wright, Len Lye, Sibyl and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Norman De Marco, Alfred Stieglitz, Wynant Vanderpool, Edward Steichen, and others.
REEL N712: Sketches, designs, and working papers relating to Davis's plastic constructions, mobiles, and abstract art films; photos of works; a file on Davis's exhibition at Princeton, 1963; statements on his work; and typescripts, "Notes on Frank Lloyd Wright," and "Notes on John Marin."
REEL N738: Selection of drawings, 1919-1950, with explanatory notes by Davis.
REEL N68-86A: Sixteen letters from John Marin, 1940-1947.
UNMICROFILMED: Slides and miscellany.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, photographer, filmmaker; Princeton, New Jersey. Davis's specialty was abstract art. He studied with Andre Lhote in Paris.


Material on reels N172, N68-86A, N738 lent 1967-1968 for microfilming by James E. Davis. Material on reels 430-433 donated 1969 by Davis and Rosalind Kossoff, Davis's agent.

Location of Originals

  • Reels N172, N68-86A, N738: Originals returned to James E. Davis after microfilming.

How to Use This Collection

Alternative Forms Available

35mm microfilm reels N738, N712, N68-86A and 430-433 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

James Edward Davis papers, 1917-1969. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.