Stuart Davis was born in 1892 in Philadelphia, where his father was art director of the Philadelphia Press, the newspaper that employed John Sloan, George Luks, William Glackens, and Everett Shinn, the artists who, along with Robert Henri, would make up the nucleus of The Eight. In 1909, because of his father's connections with this group of artists, Davis went to study at the Henri School in New York, where John Sloan was his principal teacher. After participating as one of the youngest artists in the Armory Show in 1913 and experimenting with a variety of Post-Impressionist influences in the 1910s, Davis achieved a remarkably sophisticated grasp of Cubism during the 1920s. He spent a year and a half in Paris in 1928-29, but his art seems to have taken decisive direction only after his return to New York, a place about which he said, "I was appalled and depressed by its giantism," and yet felt that "as an American I had need for the impersonal dynamics of New York City." His artist friends at this critical moment in his career were Arshile Gorky, Jan Matulka, John Graham, David Smith, and Willem de Kooning, all of whom shared an enthusiastic interest in Picasso's Cubist works of the late 1920s. Davis was a decade older than most of the members of this loosely knit group, and he reached his full artistic stride before any of the other important American modernists of the 1930s. He achieved his mature style during the early years of the decade, when he became the only major painter to deal with the subject matter of the American Scene movement then extraordinarily popular—while still maintaining his modernist ambitions.