Stuart Davis | For Internal Use Only | 1944-45
Oil on canvas, 45 x 28 in.
Courtesy of Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
© 2021 Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society(ARS), NY
Stuart Davis's For Internal Use Only, painted in the mid-1940s, displays a Cubist sensibility that is reminiscent of Pablo Picasso's paper collages. The painting has large, overlapping flat shapes that reference images without being completely recognizable. The grid format of the piece as well as its black square and roughly horizontal red strip allude to works by Piet Mondrian, whose final unfinished painting, Victory Boogie Woogie, formed the basis of the Tremaine Collection. The title of Davis's painting references a drug disclaimer that parodies consumer culture, marking the artist as a predecessor to the Pop artists whose work the Tremaines would later collect.