David E. Davis

David E Davis (1920-2002)

David E. Davis is an internationally honored artist, a graduate both of the Cleveland Institute of Art and Case Western Reserve University and until his death a leading member of the Cleveland art community in 1980 he received the Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Art and in 2000 the Distinguished Alumnus Award from The Cleveland Institute of Art. In the 1970s Davis developed a design concept that restricted composition to three basic geometric shapes with predetermined proportions — circles, triangles, rectangles . The almost infinite combinations possible evoked the harmonic combinations in musical composition and he named his system the “harmonic grid.” His work attracted national attention in 1970-80 when, with Ed Mieczkowski, John Pearson, and Julian Stanczak he participated in “Visual Logic” a group show of paintings organized in Cleveland at the Institute of Art and the New Gallery of Contemporary Art that traveled to New York and Chicago. Although his later work evolved and changed , he remained true to his early aesthetic commitment to mathematical order and logic. Davis exhibited in over seventy solo and group exhibitions and is represented in museums in the United States and in Israel Davis’s two sculptures in the Putnam Collection exemplify the range of his creative achievement: Start (1981) is a large-scale monumental work that evolved from his grid series; Triumph (1987) is small, elegant bronze that embodies his life-long study of weight and balance. Davis was an ardent champion of the preservation of public sculpture and a strong advocate of the work of younger sculptors. With his wife Bernice, he founded the Cleveland Sculpture Center, a non-profit educational institution that supports exhibitions and lectures for the befit of the public. The David E. Davis Studio , and the David E. Davis Sculpture Park on Martin Luther King Drive in Cleveland honor his memory, his artistic achievement and his life-long commitment to public art.

Works in the collection:

2 Start, 1981
Painted steel, stainless steel, stone
Juniper Drive, Sherman House, [1981.2]

30 Triumph, 1987
Dively Center, 2nd floor, [1996.4]


The Putnam Sculpture Collection
Case Western Reserve University
11201 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7110