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

    © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Object Description

Davis transformed aspects of everyday life in this complex abstraction, one of his last great paintings. The title—which refers to the “blips” on a radar screen and the “ifs” of radar’s intermediate frequencies—suggests the artist was thinking of movement and beats as he painted the composition. The work’s large scale, bright palette, and subject matter allude to billboard advertisements. The contemporary slang terms “Pa” (pad) and “Tight,” the letters “Compl” (complete), and the artist’s signature at the top all become powerful pictorial elements. Depicted in vibrant green, red, yellow, and white (colors often seen in ads of the era), these motifs lie flat against a black background yet reverberate in space.

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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