Arthur Bowen Davies
Little Fauns on the Banks of the Arethusa
Inscribed On the Banks of the Arethusa, Arthur B. Davies on an old label on the stretcher
Oil on canvas
16 x 22 inches
Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Best of Times: Intimate American Paintings from the Turn of the Century, Jan. 14, 1982-Jan. 31, 1992 (as On the Banks of the Arethusa, Two Fauns)
New York, Spanierman Gallery, LLC, Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Masters, May 15-Jul. 3, 2008 (as On the Banks of the Arethusa, Two Fauns)
New York, Spanierman Gallery, LLC, Arthur B. Davies: Painter, Poet, Romancer & Mystic, Mar. 29-Apr. 28, 2012.
In Little Fauns on the Banks of the Arethusa, Davies portrayed two young fauns standing on the banks of Arethusa, a mythical spring named for a nymph whom Artemis changed into this body of water to protect her from pursuit by the river god Alpheus. Davies based the fauns on portraits of his two sons, Niles and Arthur David, idealizing them and capturing a contemplative moment when the older boy has raised his arm to give an explanation to the younger one-possibly about the myth itself. Davies may have drawn inspiration for this painting and for an earlier image of Arethusa (circa 1893, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio), from poems about the myth by Percy Bysshe Shelley and the symbolist poet Stephane Mallarme. Davies imparted a sense of timeless splendor to the work by the application of thin, semitranslucent glazes, producing a velvety surface and an ambient, tonal light.
C The Spanierman Gallery, LLC Collection of American Art
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