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DAVIS, DAVID E.

DAVIS, DAVID E. (1920 - 13 November 2002), was born in 1920 in Romania. The son of a well known Talmudic scholar, Davis fled Romania with his family as facism spread through Europe. Emigrating to Cleveland in 1934, Davis won a full scholarship to the Cleveland School (now Cleveland Institute) of Art. After four years' service in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II, Davis attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART. He continued his studies at WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY  where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts.

Davis entered the professional art market following his studies, both as a vice president for American Greetings Corporation's Creative Department and vice president of Electro General Plastics. In 1967 Davis left the world of corporate art, setting up a metal-working studio in a former gasoline station so he could devote himself to sculpture full time. He preferred to work in a series, defining a general theme around which visual ideas were explored. The aesthetic qualities of a work¿form and color¿along with the material itself (typically cast bronze or fabricated metal elements carefully welded, polished, and painted) were more interesting to him than content. Most comfortable working in an abstract idiom, he sought to create timeless visual symbols from a specific vocabulary of forms ranging from geometric to organic, often combining the two. Davis executed several major public commissions in Ohio and Florida, and his work was featured in exhibitions ranging from the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART Cleveland Museum of Art to galleries and museums in his native Romania. Eventually, his work entered the collections of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art and several private and corporate collections.

During the 1970s, Davis pursued his Harmonic Grid Series. After winning the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1980, he spent the next two decades exploring the tetrahedron, arch, and spiral. As the geometric edge of his early work softened in the Arch Series, he shifted from constructed pieces to carved pieces, and from metals to wood and stone.Davis also had a deep commitment both to the advancement of his chosen art form and to the preservation of the region's distinctive cultural heritage. In 1990, he and his wife, Bernice Saperstein Davis, co-founded the Sculpture Center, a resource and exhibition space, to nurture promising area sculptors, and, in 1997, the Artist Archives of the WESTERN RESERVE. Davis died in November of 2002. He was 82 years old.