Short correspondence on Stuart Davis’ painting Rue Lippe (1928)

Rue Lippe (Stuart Davis, 1928) omslag







Rotterdam, 15 January 2005

Dear Mrs. Corn,

A few days ago I bought your book The great American thing because I was intrigued by some of the illustrations, particularly those depicting syphon bottles by Léger (p.128) and Stuart Davis (p.338 and 348). I am […] currently writing a book on the representation of soft drinks in the arts. Of course I knew the Léger painting but I must admit I had never even heard of Stuart Davis.

I don’t want to be priggish but in your text on Stuart Davis I discovered some small mistakes. On page 348 you write that his 1928 painting Rue Lippe is showing a milk bottle, a mug of beer in the shape of a hat and a syphon bottle. Well the milk bottle with the inscription La Cressonee is in fact a water carafe, used in French cafés to dilute strong spirits like absinth and pastis. La Cressonee is a French brand name for absinth as well as pastis. The glass beer jug is not in the form of a hat. Bière Hatt is the brand name of a beer from the Hatt Brewery in Kronenbourg (Alsace), the present-day Kronenbourg Brewery which is a subsidiary of the Danone food company. I suppose the mug is standing on a beer mat and as Davis painted both mug and mat in the same grey color they indeed look a bit like a top hat with a handle.

I ought to let you know this in case your book will be reprinted someday in paperback or other form.

With kind regards,

Peter Zwaal


Stanford, 30 January 2005

Dear Mr. Zwaal,

Thanks so much for the correction on the water carafe; not at all priggish, but helpful. I should have caught that as I see that my source, Stuart Davis : an American in Paris, a little catalogue by Lewis Kachur, had it right. I understood that Hatt was a brand name but also that Davis was having a bit of Cubist fun in making the mug and coaster into the shape of a hat – playing with Hatt/hat. I guess I didn’t make that as clear as I should have.

I do appreciate your being in touch with me about the Rue Lippe painting. Good luck on your project.

Wanda Corn