A new exhibition opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum this past weekend. "Local Color: Washington Painting at Midcentury," blazes with 27 huge color-is-expressive canvases, all works by Washington, D.C.-based artists, Leon Berkowitz, Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, Sam Gilliam, Fel Hines, Jacob Kainen, Howard Mehring, Paul Reed and Alma Thomas.
Color painters are having a moment of rediscovery this year in shows around the Smithsonian campus, including the Hirshhorn’s recent Morris Louis retrospective and SAAM’s earlier exhibit, "Color as Field."
But speaking of local color, artist and stripe-meister Gene Davis (1920-1985) was a bit of a character. DC native all the way, born and raised, a graduate of University of Maryland, he began his career as a journalist and after a stint at some out-of-town newspapers settled in as a sports writer for the Washington Daily News. "I was born here," he said, "and wild horses could not drag me away."