by Craig Leavitt and Thomas J. Noel
University Press of Colorado, 2016
Paper: 978-1-60732-419-5 | eISBN: 978-1-60732-420-1
Library of Congress Classification N6537.D3445L43 2015
Dewey Decimal Classification 759.13


Herndon Davis, an artist and journalist, dedicated his life to depicting the major landmarks and personalities of Colorado in watercolor, oil, and pen and pencil. Best known for the Face on the Barroom Floor, the portrait of an alluring woman on the floor of the Teller House Hotel barroom in Central City, Colorado, Davis was a prolific artist whose murals, sketches, and portraits can be found all over the state, from the Sage Room of the Oxford Hotel on Seventeenth Street to the Denver Press Club poker room. Despite his numerous contributions, his work was never showcased or exhibited in the traditional manner.

In this biography and first-ever collection featuring most of his life’s work, authors Craig Leavitt and Thomas J. Noel provide a detailed look into Davis’s life and career and include a catalog of almost 200 of his paintings and drawings from Colorado and around the country. They also put his work into the broader context of the time through comparison with such contemporary Colorado artists as Muriel Sibell Wolle, Allen Tupper True, Charles Waldo Love, and Juan Menchaca.

Published to coincide with the Denver Public Library’s 2016 exhibition—the only public display of Davis’s work to date—and bringing deserved attention to this overlooked figure, Herndon Davis: Painting Colorado History, 1901-1962 is an important contribution to Colorado’s cultural history.

This book and the accompanying exhibit are sponsored by the Western History/Genealogy Department at the Denver Public Library.