Amon Carter print details

Blips and Ifs

Stuart Davis (1892-1964)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Object Type


  • Medium

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions

    71 1/8 x 53 1/8 in.

  • Inscriptions


    signed u.c.: Stuart Davis


    u.c. on stetcher: GAL-A

    c. stretcher: BLIPS & IFS STUART DAVIS 1963-64

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, In memory of John de Menil, Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1961-1969

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

The largest of six Davis paintings in the Carter’s collection, Blips and Ifs marks the culmination of the artist’s long, productive, and highly inventive career. Completed shortly before his death, the picture offers a vibrant interplay of colors and letters in which fragments of words suggest an artistic dialogue with the visual language of commercial advertising.

In addition to consumer culture, Davis had a longstanding interest in aviation, and the work’s title likely refers to radar technologies. “Blips” is shorthand for the nebulous forms that flash on a radar screen, while “ifs” could be Davis’s own abbreviation of “indeterminate frequencies”—the time between blips. The title thus invites a range of related associations, such as the creative search for meaningful forms in art, the rhythmic beats of radar sweeps, or, ominously, the mounting paranoia of the Cold War.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: On view
See more by Stuart Davis


Educator Resources
  • What roles can text play in works of art?

    In what ways has music influenced, and been influenced by, art?

    How might abstraction offer an advantage to an artist in capturing the essence of a place or scene?

  • Grades Pre-K–3

    Ask students to think of a place that is special to them. How might they depict this place in an abstract style? What elements of this place are most important? What shapes, lines, and colors make up this place? Students will make a sketch of the composition using any drawing implement. Geometric stickers or felt shapes are also helpful in giving students a place to begin.

    Grades 4–12

    Ask students to think about the city, town, or community they call home. What shapes, colors, or words might they use in an artwork to represent it? The students will draw a representation of this place using shapes, colors, and/or words in the style of Stuart Davis. Older students can make the project more complex through the incorporation of musical elements.

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