Black Rhythm

Art Details

Black Rhythm is one of 29 abstract paintings that were donated to CIA’s gallery.

Gene Davis


Vincent Melzac Collection

Washington Color School

This is the Agency’s only work by Gene Davis, one of the most noted of the Washington Color School artists.  In a conscious effort to “purify” his work, he reduced painting to the fewest possible elements, that of equal-width stripes.  He felt that this matrix allowed him to emphasize color orchestration, saying: “I paint by eye as a jazz musician plays by ear.”  The stripes, like a drummer’s beat, provide the unity through which colors interact.  Such a painting cannot be grasped all at once: Davis suggested that the viewer follow one color across the composition, seeing how the intervals work, what the rhythms are like between related colors.  He described it as a kind of syncopation.  A Washington native, Davis was a sports writer and a White House correspondent before he dropped that career to become a painter.

Art Specs

226 cm x 213.5 cm

(L x H)