1940 October 20 - New York Times Review - Gladys Rockmore Davis - 1st One Man Show
With her first New York one-man show, current at the Rehn Gallery, Gladys Rockmore Davis attests her right to a position in the front rank of contemporary American painters. Perhaps that position should be considered previously earned by virtue of single canvases shown with groups. Her talent has by no means gone unremarked. But a mass demonstration can sometimes prove what isolated tokens cannot. The result adds up. It leaves one convinced and, for the future, confident.
For my part I have felt impelled until now to reserve judgement because of the artist’s frequent employment of color that seemed to me overwrought and hotly sweet. There has seemed often something boldly, even blatantly saccharine. Those were “candy” colors, cleverly contrived, purely spun in air; but they draped or bedizened forms that called for more substantial, less superficially decorative, investiture.
Though Mrs. Davis still, in several of her present canvases, depends more upon the appeal of translucent confection than upon weightier attributes, she demonstrates again and again the capacity to express with a kind of grave and powerful plastic splendor—as in the “Emma” (reproduced). Whereas a portrait such as that of the child Jacqueline Brown could be described as expertly sweet, the “Mrs. Frank Caspers,” a little reminiscent of Courbet, is profoundly imbued with character. Of conspicuous excellence also are the self-portrait “The Toilette,” the “Seated Figure” and an early one entitled “Jane.” The large and ambitious “Odalisque,” in Venetian mood, is strong but rather perfervid; hot and exotic in its plangent glow of color.