1957-11-23 New York Times - Creative Job For an Artist Is Her Home
Creative Job For an Artist Is Her Home
Gladys Rockmore Davis can count many firsts in her life. The latest for the artist was being the first woman painter to be shown at the 105-year-old Babcock Galleries, 805 Madison Avenue, near Sixty-seventh Street. The exhibition concludes today.
In World War II Mrs. Davis was the first and only woman artist correspondent for Life Magazine. She was sent to Paris to sketch the liberated city in 1945 and also rendered some memorable paintings of the city’s children and people.
But marriage and rearing a family is what Mrs. Davis considers her greatest accomplishment. The artist has tried always to live by the principle that “my husband and children should not be slighted because I was given an artistic talent.”
Ruled the Household
When her son Noel and daughter Deborah were very small she moved her easel into a maid’s room in their Eighty-sixth Street apartment and organized and ruled the household from that room. Daily from 9 to 12 in the morning, while the children were at school, she secluded herself, but only after the menu for the day had been planned and the mail opened. Not even a telephone call would be allowed to disturb her. Only is a family member was ill would the schedule be violated, she recalls.
Mrs. Davis also made it a steadfast rule that she would be at home when the children arrived from school. Some of the precepts that ruled the Davis household Mrs. Davis attributes to her education in progressive schools. Because she had missed school discipline in her early years, she insisted on a fair amount in her children’s formative years.
Today, at 56, with her family grown and a smaller studio apartment at 1 West Sixty-seventh Street to care for, Mrs. Davis still leads an active life. As a grandmother she loves to invade the nursery at Noel’s home, where three children clamor for her attention. At home her husband, Floyd, a commercial artist, and Figaro, a “vest-sized” pinscher, claim her attention.
Mrs. Davis isn’t one to spend much time on memories. She seldom thinks of her first career as a commercial artist in advertising and fashion illustration. Also the first years of her tremendous success as a serious artist when she was acclaimed by a New York critic as “the ten-year wonder of United States art” seem remote.
Despite the fact that her work is shown in ten museums across the country and included in numerous important private art collections, she says that “the most creative job in the world is raising a family and running a household.”