Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Charles Sheeler: Art As Precision And Personality

I favor a picture which arrives at its destination without the evidence of a trying journey rather than one which shows the marks of battle.

Charles Sheeler (quoted above) was born in Philadelphia on this day in 1883. He was trained as a draftsman and painter in that city and was self taught in photography. If we were to use one word to describe his work, it would be "precision."  By early adulthood his broad training and personal technique made him a successful artist, one who would later be recognized as a founding member of the Modernist arts in the United States.

I became familiar with Sheeler's work during several class trips to museums in Washington in the early '70's. Didn't think much of his style at the time but a career immersed in our nation's natural and cultural landscapes changed my attitude. Today, he's a favorite and here are a few of his paintings I enjoy:

American Landscape                                                              1922

Golden Gate                                                                            1955

Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting                                      1933

Yankee Clipper                                                                         1939

A version of this post first appeared in 2013. 

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