Bertha Davis

Modern Abstract Neutral-Toned Watercolor Landscape of a Spacious House 1972



Ink and watercolor


Modern abstract watercolor drawing of a house by Texas artist Bertha Davis. The work features a loosely rendered neutral-toned depiction of a spacious house with blue accents. Signed and dated by the artist in the front lower left corner. Currently hung in a brushed silver frame with a taupe matting and blue accent matting that brings out the blue undertones.

Artist Biography

A painter of cityscapes, landscapes, and abstracts in Texas, Bertha G Davis was primarily a self-taught artist whose style was influenced by her early life experiences in pre-World War II Lithuania and later Mexico. Her style is expressionistic, relying on color to denote her profound feelings. She works primarily in watercolor and acrylic with some mixed media. She is the daughter of Abraham and Dvora Germaize of Vilna, Lithuania and grew up in Jewish ghettos in Vilna, Alita, and Kovno. Davis was influenced by her father who was a decorative wood-worker and carpenter in Lithuania. The family of five daughters and a son escaped to Mexico City in the late 1920’s because of Jewish oppression. The images and emotions she experienced had no outlet. She was known as a beauty, and at age 17 was named Jewish Miss Mexico, barely able to speak Spanish having just emigrated from Eastern Europe. Irving Davis, a merchant from Texas who had also come from Eastern Europe via Cuba, saw her at this event where she was crowned Jewish Miss Mexico, and three days later asked for her hand in marriage. They moved to a small town in Texas, raising a family. Her daughter, Sylvia, was born when Davis was 20 and they were inseparable. As Sylvia became an actress, painter, and sculptor, Davis was amazed at the capacity for creativity. Davis didn’t begin her own artistic journey until she was 47, when her daughter Sylvia Caplan encouraged her to try. She was inspired by this daughter who gave her a drugstore palette of watercolors, paper and brushes and told her to “just try.” Davis did not put down her palette and brushes until her death in 1997. Bertha G Davis was primarily self-taught but maintained a style oriented toward color and texture that reflected her strong feelings. Most of her early work was done while she lived in McAllen, Texas where she was known for her contribution to art and showed her work and the work of other artists at the Bertha Davis Gallery. She studied with Stewart Van Orden, at Pan American College in 1960/61; and was a student at the Art Institute San Miguel Allende, Mexico, 1965. She was also a student of Harold Phenix, 1972-73, and Ed Whitney, 1973-74. After her husband, Irving Davis died, she and her young daughter, Doryn moved to Houston, Texas to create a more fertile platform for her work. Her artwork was widely shown and exhibited during her lifetime. Davis was the owner of an art gallery in Houston, Texas 1969-72, and assistant manager of Art International 1972-1975, Kirt Niven Gallery, Dallas, 1977-1978. She was known to have participated in over 160 group shows, in addition to numerous solo shows, both in the United States and abroad. Bertha Davis was one of 20 American artists whose work was selected to represent the United States in France for the bicentennial in 1976. She painted for the last 40 years of her life, until her death in 1997. She won numerous awards for her artwork between 1960-1992, and appeared in various periodicals. Although she continued to paint into her 80’s, the height of her career was in the 1960’s – 1980s. Mostly self-taught although recognized in galleries in Texas, New York, Florida, Mexico, and other international galleries in North America and Europe. Davis remarried Irving Lansky where they lived in Houston and Richardson, Texas, and were dedicated to her art work for the last 25 years of her life. She passed away at 86 with her daughters Sylvia and Doryn at her side.

Dimensions With Frame

H 12.5 in x W 13.5 in x D 1.5 in

Dimensions Without Frame

H 5.5 in. x W 5.5 in.