John Watson Davis was born in New York but received his artistic training in Paris, where his family had moved when he was 10. Returning to New York in his twenties, he embarked upon a prolific career as a book illustrator for the next 60 years, from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. He signed his work “J. Watson Davis” to avoid being confused with other artists named John Davis. Davis created artwork for Zane Grey novels, Sherlock Holmes tales and Bluebeard. He is also known for his religious illustrations depicting missionary and humanitarian activities of Catholic nuns and priests. These were commissioned by various Catholic organizations, especially the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which published them on a series of calendars in the late 1940s. The Georgetown University Art Collection featured their collection of Davis’ religious drawings in an exhibition that opened in late 2002.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall toning, wear and soiling associated with a working example of illustration art.
Alan, David C. “Religious Drawings by John Watson Davis.” Georgetown University Art Collection. 2002. http://www.library.georgetown.edu/dept/speccoll/guac/ davis_02/intro.htm (5 May 2003).