Saturday, April 21, 2018

01 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, 20th C., with Footnotes. #32

Harry A Davis (IN, 1914-2006) 
The Refugeesas, c. 1957
Private collection

Hungarian Refugees 1956. The largest wave of refugees in Europe’s  post-WWII history were the Hungarians fleeing the country after the crushing of the revolution and freedom fight in 1956. In the weeks after the second, overwhelming, Soviet military intervention on  November 4,1956, 200,000 Hungarians set out on foot in the harsh winter, avoiding roads and paths, each with a single bundle on their backs, crossing minefields and barbed wire to reach the Western and Southern borders to Austria and Yugoslavia. The refugees were received warmly and with great empathy by the people on the other side of the border; authorities set up  refugee camps and Western democracies rushed to offer places for the refugees. In the next two years, all of the Hungarians found a home in the free world, were given free education and helped to find work. More on Hungarian Refugees 1956.

Harry Allen Davis was born in Hillsboro, Indiana, in 1914. His family moved to Brownsburg, Indiana in 1920 where he graduated from high school and later maintained a studio until 1960. He entered the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis in 1933 and earned his BFA in 1938. That same year he won the Prix de Rome in painting, and his studies at the American Academy in Rome enabled him to travel to Turkey, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Belgium and France. Due to the outbreak of war in Europe, he spent his third year at the academy in New York City where he was provided with a studio in Greenwich Village.

Davis was named Artist in Residence at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin where he taught and painted in 1941. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army and designed camouflage in North Africa. He became a combat artist with the Fifth Army Historical Unit in Italy from 1944 to 1946. The drawings and paintings from this time period are the property of the War Department at the Pentagon. His experience in WWII moved him to paint a series of religious compositions including ‘The Crucifixion’ which gained national attention. In 1946 Davis began teaching at the Herron School of Art. For the Indiana Sesquicentennial in 1972 he presented an exhibit entitled ‘My City’. After his retirement in 1983 he was named Professor Emeritus. A sabbatical in 1975 allowed Davis to complete thirty two works about sites in southern Indiana. A grant provided the funds to transport the exhibit ‘A Segment of the Historic Ohio River Valley’ to galleries in the Midwest as part of the 1976 Bicentennial Celebration. A second sabbatical in 1983 resulted in the traveling show called “Here and There; the Italian Influence” where he compared the architecture of Indiana with that of Italy. Because of his fascination with Hoosier architecture, he received the Sandi Servaas Memorial Award from the Indiana Landmarks Foundation. More on Harry Allen Davis

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