Stuart Davis was born December 7, 1894 in Philadelphia, PA. His mother, Helen Stuart Foulke (a sculptress), and his father, Edward Wyatt Davis (art editor of the Philadelphia Press), introduced him to the art world at an early age. Through his father he met Robert Henri, with whom he studied at the New York School of Art from 1910 to 1913. In 1918, he served as a map maker with special commission under the Army Intelligence Department preparing materials for the peace conference.
In the 1930's, Davis taught at the Art Students League in New York City. During this time, he also did easel paintings and several major murals for the WPA Federal Arts Project; he edited the Artists Union Art Front publication; and chaired the American Artist's Congress, from which he resigned in 1940. During the 1940's, he taught at the New School for Social Research, New York. In 1938, Davis married Roselle Springer and on April 17, 1952, they had a son, George Earl Davis.
Davis' work strived to portray the tempo of American life, but with his subject matter being secondary to color and compositional concerns. As a result, his distributive art bridges the gap between early modernism and abstract expressionism and pop art.
In 1964, Davis became the first major artist commissioned by the United States Post Office to design a commemorative postage stamp. The stamp was issued in December of that year, six months after his death on June 24th. His work is located in over twenty-five public collections, including the Carnegie Institute, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum, the Phillips Collection, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum.