Charles Sheeler: Across Media
October 7, 2006January 7, 2007
Charles Sheeler (18831965) is recognized as one of the founders of American modernism and one of the master photographers of the twentieth century. His work is synonymous with precisionism, a crisp, clean, hard-edged style that reconciled cubist abstraction and the machine aesthetic of Marcel Duchamp with American subject matter. Trained in industrial drawing, decorative painting, and applied art at the School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia, and having studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Sheeler fully absorbed the lessons of each discipline and forged his own singular approach.
Equally gifted as a photographer and painter, Sheeler analyzed the relationships between photography and traditional artistic methods such as painting and drawing with more rigor and intellectual discipline than perhaps any other American artist of his generation. Like a well-conceived scientific experiment, his practice of using fully realized photographs explicitly as the basis for paintings and drawings led to results that crystallized both the differences and similarities between them. The brilliance and scope of Sheeler’s approach is evident in the way his works in one medium often manage to function as autonomous objects while being inextricably linked to works in other media.
Charles Sheeler: Across Media is the first exhibition to focus upon the complex, often paradoxical relationships between photography, film, drawing, and painting that were central to Sheeler’s art. A celebration of the formal clarity and beauty of the artist’s works, this exhibition draws upon a core of 50 masterpieces, including the magnificent painting Classic Landscape (1931), masterful drawings such as New York (1920) and Counterpoint (1949), and striking examples of the artist’s photographs. The works in this exhibition display Sheeler’s fascination with the visual effects of various media, evident not only in his photographs but also in his works created after them in other media.
The beautifully illustrated catalogue features detailed analyses of Sheeler’s various media and methods and offers new interpretations of critical periods in the artist’s career. The exhibition catalogue is available in the Museum Shop, call 1-800-518-4214.
ORGANIZERS AND SPONSORS
This exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
This exhibition is made possible through generous support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
The exhibition catalogue and brochure were developed by Charles Brock, Assistant Curator of American and British Paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Sarah E. Kelly, Henry and Gilda Buchbinder Associate Curator of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago
National Gallery of Art, Washington: May 7August 27, 2006
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum: February 10May 6, 2007
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