Ted Davis – Watercolor

watercolor drawing

Ted Davis (American b. 1908  d. 1995)

“Laughing Gull – Monhegan, Maine”

Watercolor on paper


9.75″ x 13.75″ sight

18″ x 22″ framed


For nearly 50 years Davis summered on Monhegan Island; he likened the island to a “big cruise ship.” It never went anywhere, but passengers and the atmospherics were constantly changing. From the 1960s to the 1990s he created prismatic layers of thin color, each layer overlapping and intersecting another. Was it the sun that shone through the center of these works? And then, of course, there were Davis’ beloved “boids”. The gulls of Monhegan ecame his other world, each one imbued with an identity–Reagan, the professor, the shy, and the scolding gull. For a man who lived the routine that Davis followed, the freedom that these gulls possessed fascinated him. 

His work was exhibited in the Annual Exhibitions at the National Society of Painters in Casein, the Twentieth Biennial International Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (1959); and the 29th Annual Mid-year Exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art (1964). His work was featured in a one-man show at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine, in 1997, and is illustrated in Monhegan: The Artists’ Island (1997). His paintings are in collections of the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME; the Olin Arts Center at Bates College, Lewiston, ME; and the Monhegan Museum, Monhegan Island, ME.