Gene Davis was born in 1920 in Washington D.C., where he lived most of his life. He is associated with the Washington Color School, established in the late 1950s and prominent through the 1960s.
Known for minimal, orderly and colorful paintings using stripes, washes and single fields of colors, the Washington Color School was given its name in an exhibition entitled Washington Color Painters at the Washington Gallery of Modern Art in 1965.
Davis was included in seminal exhibitions during his lifetime including Post Painterly Abstraction at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964 and The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965.
Davis's work is represented in major public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California.
Davis died in 1985 in Washington D.C. at the age of 64.