Stuart Davis (December 7, 1892 – June 24, 1964), was an early American modernist painter. He was well known for his jazz-influenced, proto pop art paintings of the 1940s and 1950s, bold, brash, and colorful, as well as his ashcan pictures in the early years of the 20th century.
He was born in Philadelphia to Edward Wyatt Davis and Helen Stuart Davis. His parents both worked in the arts. His father was the art editor of the Philadelphia Press while his mother was a sculptor. From 1909 to 1912, Davis studied painting under Robert Henri, the leader of the early modern art group the Eight. Among his ashcan paintings is Chinatown (1912), set in Lower Manhattan. A black cat in the picture represents a promiscuous woman who is depicted nearby dressed in black and standing next to trash cans in a seedy neighborhood.
Exposed at this exhibition to the work of such artists as Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, Davis became a committed "modern" artist and a major exponent of cubism and modernism in America. He spent summers painting in Gloucester, and made painting trips to Havana in 1918 and New Mexico in 1923.