(Washington, D.C., 1920 - 1985, Washington, D.C.)
Gene Davis was born and raised in Washington D.C. He studied the liberal arts at Maryland University before attending Wilson Teachers College in 1943. Davis initially worked as a sports writer for the Washington Daily News and was a White House correspondent for Transradio Press. Influenced by artists such as Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet and Jackson Pollock, he created his first painting in 1952, Composition I, while still working as a journalist. His first solo exhibition was held in 1958 at Dupont Theater Gallery, Washington, D.C. and his first solo show in New York took place in 1963 at the Poindexter Gallery. Beginning in the 1960s Davis worked exclusively with uniform, hard-edged stripe compositions, which would become his trademark. He began teaching at the Corcoran Gallery Art School in 1967. Throughout his career he received numerous commissions of significance including a commission for a 60-foot mural for the South Mall Project, New York State Capital Building, Albany, New York; a 404-foot painting on Franklin’s Footpath in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and a street painting at ARTPARK, Lewiston, New York. In 1984 Davis was appointed as commissioner of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C before his untimely death the following year at the age of 64.