Sports or Hunting Scene Randall Davey was born in East Orange, New Jersey. He attended college at Cornell University, where he briefly studied architecture, but left before completing his bachelor’s degree in favor of a career as a painter. In 1908, he moved to New York, enrolling in classes given by Robert Henri, the influential teacher and leader of the dissident group “The Eight,” which broke with the conservative art establishment in favor of depicting a new realism in art. During the summer of 1910, Davey attended Henri’s classes in Holland; the following summer he accompanied George Bellows and Henri to Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine; and in 1912, in the position of assistant instructor, Davey joined Henri’s summer classes in Spain. Davey returned to New York and became principally a portrait and figure painter in a Henri-derived, vigorously painted realist style. He kept close company with New York school artists, such as Henri, Bellows, John Sloan, and Charles Webster Hawthorne, among others. He frequently went on sketching trips with Henri and the artists in his circle, visiting Monhegan, Maine, Gloucester, Massachusetts, and ultimately Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Davey moved permanently with Henri’s encouragement in 1920. Davey became a leading figure in the vibrant artistic community in the Santa Fe. Unusual among the artists there, Davey eschewed the prevailing local taste for the Pueblo Indian cultural aesthetic, instead painting landscapes of the desert in all its seasonal variations. As the lone Henri protégé to settle in Santa Fe, Davey made his home and studio an outpost for his non-resident realist-painter friends who regularly visited the area, including especially his close friend, John Sloan. Davey remained connected to the New York art world, exhibiting frequently at the National Academy of Design and other venues in the city. An early independent artist, Davey was elected an associate member of the National Academy in 1937, and was advanced to full membership the following year. By the early 1930s, Davey began painting pictures of racehorses, polo matches, and race track scenes, subjects for which he is best known today. “Untitled (Race Track Scene)” evinces the vigorous and broadly painted brushstrokes that characterize Davey’s horseracing pictures, as well as the aristocratic air of the race. While pictures such as this recall the George Bellows’ famous polo scenes of the 1910s, Davey’s style and approach are very much his own.
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