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Artists Charles Sheeler
Charles Sheeler Photo

Charles Sheeler

American Painter and Photographer

Movements and Styles: Straight Photography, Early American Modernism, Precisionism

Born: July 16, 1883 - Philadelphia, PA

Died: May 7, 1965 - Dobbs Ferry, NY

Charles Sheeler Timeline

Quotes

"Photography is nature seen from the eyes outward, painting from the eyes inward."
Charles Sheeler
"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
"My interest in photography, paralleling that in painting, has been based on admiration for its possibility of accounting for the visual world with an exactitude not equaled by any other medium. The difference in the manner of arrival at their destination - the painting being a result of composite image and the photograph being a result of a single image - prevents these media from being competitive."
Charles Sheeler
"For many years now, I've never worked on location. I always gather the nuts and bring them home and chew them over there and arrive at a picture."
Charles Sheeler
"Every age manifests itself by some external evidence. In a period such as ours when only a comparatively few individuals seem to be given to religion, some form other than the Gothic cathedral must be found. Industry concerns the greatest numbers - it may be true, as has been said, that our factories are our substitute for religious expression."
Charles Sheeler
"The curse upon us is that we may only discern the thing when it is on the horizon -either in advance or retreat - in the moment that we pass the edges are blurred and the form unrecognized".
Charles Sheeler

"Every age manifests itself by some external evidence. In a period such as ours when only a comparatively few individuals seem to be given to religion, some form other than the Gothic cathedral must be found."

Charles Sheeler Signature

Synopsis

Famous for both his photographs and the paintings he often made from them, Sheeler was an influential American artist for most of the first half of the 20th century. Sheeler used both photography and painting, which he referred to as his 'separate eyes,' to capture the function, abstraction, and the human element of the American industrial and urban age. Sheeler found and captured the beauty of the functional design of factories, barns, and skyscrapers, but also the allure of the inherent geometric abstraction of these structures. He was considered one of the artists most in tune with the modernization and industrialization of America, as his work revealed how the American pioneer spirit had transferred from exploring natural frontiers to the technological and industrial progress of the nation.

Key Ideas

Sheeler objectively captured the geometry, form and abstraction of the buildings, structures, machinery, and architecture which were transforming and modernizing America, inaugurating the Precisionist Movement.
Sheeler had a remarkable process of mixed media creation. He began by taking a photograph of an object or building, then crafted a drawing based on the original photograph, and then used the drawing as a model for a painting. He believed the process showed that the less mechanical the media became the more involved the artist was in creating the beauty of the work. The complex dialogue he created between media and object was one of his major contributions to American modernism.
Sheeler was truly inter-disciplinary in his work. He created a movie, finding influence in the interaction of the film and the object. He was also influenced by, and influenced poets, as he based the shots of his film Walt Whitman's Crossing Brooklyn Ferry (1856), and worked closely with William Carlos Williams to theorize the various fields and media of modernism.
One of Sheeler's major achievements was redefining the concept of the American landscape. Sheeler replaced pastoral images of a pristine nature with a terrain populated by factories and industrial yards, and revealed the beauty of urban spaces and cityscapes.
In his later years, Sheeler worked on incorporating multiple perspective in his images, by creating a technique of overlapping photographic negatives to create an image that served as a model for a painting.

Biography

Charles Sheeler Photo

Childhood

Charles Rettrew Sheeler Jr was born into a middle-class family in Philadelphia, and was named after his father who worked for a steamship company. He attended a local high school, and his parents encouraged his interest in art from an early age.

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Charles Sheeler Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Charles Sheeler
Interactive chart with Charles Sheeler's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

William Merritt ChaseWilliam Merritt Chase
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Diego VelazquezDiego Velazquez
Alfred StieglitzAlfred Stieglitz

Personal Contacts

William Carlos WilliamsWilliam Carlos Williams
Walter ArensbergWalter Arensberg
Paul StrandPaul Strand

Movements

CubismCubism
RealismRealism
ImpressionismImpressionism

Influences on Artist
Charles Sheeler
Charles Sheeler
Years Worked: 1900 - 1959
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Ansel AdamsAnsel Adams
Edward WestonEdward Weston

Personal Contacts

Francis PicabiaFrancis Picabia
Man RayMan Ray

Movements

Early American ModernismEarly American Modernism
PrecisionismPrecisionism

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Content compiled and written by Jen Glennon

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Jen Glennon
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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