Charles Sheeler : Paintings

“Photography is nature seen from the eyes outward, painting from the eyes inward” C Sheeler

Charles Sheeler
On Shaker Theme #2
Tempera on paper

Charles Sheeler
Composition around White
Oil on canvas

Charles Sheeler
Oil on canvas

Charles Sheeler
Aerial Gyrations
Oil on canvas

Charles Sheeler
Ore into Iron
Oil on canvas

“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 the result of a composite image and the photograph being the result of a single image; prevents these media from being competitive.” Charles Sheeler

The American modernist Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) explored the relationships between photography, film, and more traditional media such as painting and drawing with more rigor and intellectual discipline than perhaps any other artist of his generation. As in a well-conceived scientific experiment, Sheeler used his own photographs and film stills as the basis for paintings and drawings, thus crystallizing the differences and similarities between them. Works in one medium manage to function as independent objects while also being inextricably linked to works in other media.

During Sheeler’s lifetime the essential role that photography played in his creative process was often criticized or obscured because the medium’s legitimacy as an art form remained controversial. In 1931 Sheeler himself — wary of being accused of simply copying his photographs, and at the behest of his dealer, Edith Halpert — began downplaying their connections. Yet the complex dialogue Sheeler forged among various techniques early in the century is one of his most innovative and important contributions to the history of American modernism. [Extract : Introduction : Charles Sheeler : Across Media]

Charles Sheeler : Across Media : Exhibition Feature

American Modernism : The Shein Collection

Charles Sheeler & Photographic Myth

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