precisionism - A style
of early twentieth century painting
in which depicted scenes
-- many of industrial architecture
-- or objects. Precisionists
typically depicted mechanical and industrial subject matter, such
as smokestacks, steel foundries, or grain elevators. These subjects
were usually reduced or simplified
to geometric forms
and rendered in bright
and clear light, by a combination
of abstraction and realism.
In a work such as River Rouge Plant, Sheeler's commercial
photography proved a valuable source of imagery.
Pre-eminent among artists painting in this style were Charles
Demuth (American, 1883-1935) and Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965).
Charles Demuth (American, 1883-1935), Figure 5 in Gold, 1928, oil on composition board, 35 1/2 x 30 inches (90.2 x 76.2 cm). Although Demuth was influenced by Cubism and Futurism, his choice of urban and industrial subjects, his sense of scale and his directness of expression were American. The Figure 5 in Gold was dedicated to the artist's friend William Carlos Williams, the American poet whose "The Great Figure" inspired the painting's title and imagery. Demuth's painting, however, is not a representational illustration of the poem but rather an abstract impression of the No. 5 fire engine clanging through the lamp-lit streets of the darkened, rainy city.
Charles Sheeler (American, 1883-1965), Zinnia and Nasturtium Leaves, 1915, gelatin silver print, Worcester Art Museum, MA. See still life.
Charles Sheeler, Americana, 1931, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches (121.9 x 91.4 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Charles Sheeler, River Rouge Plant, 1932, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 1/8 inches (50.8 x 61.3 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. Sheeler made this painting after photographs commissioned by the Ford Motor Company, including Criss-Crossed Conveyors, River Rouge Plant, Ford Motor Company, 1927, depicted: Michigan, United States of America, gelatin silver print, 23.5 x 18.8 cm (9 1/4 x 7 3/8 inches), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See photography.
Charles Sheeler, City Interior, 1936, aqueous adhesive and oil on composition board, Worcester Art Museum, MA.
Earle Horter (American, 1891-1940)
Elsie Driggs (American, 1898-1992)
Ralston Crawford (American, 1906-1978), Turbine Shafts, Coulee Dam #2, 1971, oil on canvas, 20 x 30 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO. See technology and vertical.