Approved biography for Dwight A. Davis
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Dwight Arthur Davis was one of many pictorialists with the same last name, though none of them seem to have been related. A longtime resident of Worcester, Massachusetts, he was in the book business for forty-five years, retiring from it in 1921.
Davis was exhibiting his photographs by 1906, when they were included in shows in Worcester, New York, and Chicago. He continued to exhibit regularly for another twenty years, his work being accepted at salons in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo, London, and Amsterdam. He presented one-person exhibitions at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences in 1913 and the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union in 1919.
Davis was associated with Clarence H. White, who, as curator, included his work in the International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography, held at New York’s Ehrich Galleries in 1914. Davis attended White’s summer school of photography about this time and in 1921 demonstrated the kallitype process to a class there. He joined the Pictorial Photographers of America (PPA), an organization started in 1916 by White after the demise of Alfred Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession. During the 1920s, Davis served as a member of the PPA’s council and editorial board and as a regional vice president. He also wrote articles and contributed pictures for the PPA’s annual, Pictorial Photography in America; in 1920 he surveyed recent pictorial photography in Massachusetts and the next year he provided a brief artistic statement. Images by him appeared in the annual in 1920, 1921, and 1926.
Reproductions of Davis’s images appeared, additionally, in Photo Era (1906), American Photography (1915 and 1920), and Camera Craft (1931). Typically, they were landscapes or figure studies of children or young women. The museum’s example pictures a girl seated on the floor in a flowing housedress, suggesting domestic happiness and simplicity.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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