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Lesson Plans

interpretation of eggbeater #2

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Kara Lee English (
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 09:23:22 +0000

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For all those interested in giving their interpretive skills a workout,
I am collecting interpretations of Stewart Davis' Eggbeater #2, painted in 1928,
as part of a class project in multiple meanings and interpretations.
All of you who are working with children, I would love interpretations
from your students. Anyone interested in interpreting Eggbeater #2
may view it online at
I would then appreciate if you could email your interpretation to
Several interpretations of the works are listed below to give you a
context to begin your interpretations. Thanks to all of you who are
willing to interpret this painting.

One of Stewart Davis' own interpretations of the Eggbeater series said,
"Sometimes a person gets tired of painting landscapes. Then he paints people...
Sometimes an uninteresting subject may be stimulated as an interesting one.
One day I set up an egg beater in my studio and got so interested in it that
I nailed it on a table and kept it there to paint. I called the pictures Eggbeater
number such and such, because it was from the eggbeater that the pictures
took their impulse."

Another interpretation by an art historian claims, "His intention was to choose
the prominent visual images associated in his mind with a subject and convert these
images into pictorial language as a set of primary planes. He followed this step with
the addition of secondary forms that conformed to the design established by the
dominant planes."

Another historian has stated, "From the vantage point of the 1990s,
Stuart Davis' idiosyncratic paintings seen as a distant from the Cubist models that
were their principle inspiration as they are from the Abstract Expressionist works
that historically have overshadowed them."

And yet another interpretation, "Percolators, mouthwash bottles,
light bulbs, eggbeater and the like became surrogates for the life of
the streets, brought within reach of the hand. Their very familiarity
and ordinariness allowed Davis to concentrate on color and structure,
while at the same time their obvious difference from traditional still
life objects made them potent symbols of modernism."

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