Charles DemuthTHE LIFE AND PAINTINGS OF CHARLES DEMUTHCREATED BY: BRUCEBLACKART.COM
Charles Demuth, (1883 – 1935)is best know for the style of arthe created called, precsicionism.This poetic style blends cubistideas with realism to createstriking graphic works. He wasintroduced to photrapher AlfredStieglitz through his friendMarsden Hartley. Stieglitzarranged a one man show forhim in 1926 at hisgallery, Intimate Gallery.Trees and Barns: Bermuda1917Watercolor over pencil on paper9 1/2 x 13 7/16 in (24.1 x 34.1 cm)Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts
Describing its importance, Judith H.Dobrzynski in The Wall StreetJournal wrote: "Its the best work in agenre Demuth created, the "posterportrait". Its a witty homage to hisclose friend, the poet William CarlosWilliams, and a transliteration intopaint of his poem, "The Great Figure".Its a decidedly American work made ata time when U.S. artists were justmoving beyond European influences.Its a reference to the intertwinedrelationships among the arts in the1920s, a moment of cross-pollinationthat led to American Modernism. Andit anticipates pop art."The Figure 5 in Gold1928Oil on composition board36 x 29 3/4 in. (91.4 x 75.6 cm)Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
"The Great Figure," by his friendWilliam Carlos Williams:Among the rainand lightsI saw the figure 5in goldon a redfiretruckmovingtenseunheededto gong clangssiren howlsand wheels rumblingthrough the dark city.Some say thatthis paintingpredicted PopArt. Do youthink AndyWarhol knewof Demuth’swork?
Demuth livedand worked inthe ChaddsFord area ofPennsylvania.His house isnow a museum.Modern Conveniences1921Oil on canvas25 3/4 x 21 3/8 in. (65.4 x 54.3 cm)Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio
Compare and contrast the cubist work by Picasso withthis painting by Demuth. How are they similar? Howare they different?
Flowers and flames. Andcolor. Color as color, not asvolume or light – only ascolor. (Charles Demuth)My Egypt1927Oil on composition board35 3/4 x 30 in. (90.8 x 76.2 cm)Whitney Museum of American Art, New YorkNOTICE HOW HE USESDIAGONALS TO BREAK UP THEVERTICALITY OF THE SILOS.WHY MIGHT THIS BE CALLED “My Egypt?”
In 1927, Demuth started a series of seven panelpaintings depicting factory buildings in hishometown. He finished the last of theseven, After All in 1933 and died two years later.Six of those paintings are highlighted in Chimneysand Towers: Charles Demuth’s Late Paintings ofLancaster, a 2007 Amon CarterMuseum retrospective of his work, displayed in2008 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.Buildings, Lancaster1930Oil on board24 x 20 in (61 x 50.8 cm)Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Demuth suffered either an injurywhen he was four years old or mayhave had polio or tuberculosis ofthe hip that left him with a markedlimp and required him to use acane. He laterdeveloped diabetes and was one ofthe first people in the UnitedStates to receive insulin. He spentmost of his life in frail health, andhe died in Lancaster at the age 51of complications from diabetes.Bathers 1916Watercolor and pencil on paperHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution.
Red Chimneys“Paintings must be understood through the eyes, and thats not the word either. No writing, notalking, no singing, no dancing will explain them. They are the final, the tenth whoopee of sight.”(Charles Demuth)
Bermuda Landscape 1917watercolor and pencil on paper mounted on cardboardHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, SmithsonianInstitution.
Boxer 1907crayon, ink, and Chinese white on paperHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute.
Business 1921oil on canvasArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Circus 1917watercolor and pencil on paperHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C.
Flowers (Cyclamen) 1920Watercolor and graphite on off-white woven paperArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Mt. Gilboa #5 1912-1915Watercolor on paperHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C.
Woman with Black Hair and Two ChildrenPencil and watercolor on paperSmithsonian American Art MuseumPaintings must be looked atand looked at and looked at...No writing, no talking, nosinging, no dancing willexplain them. (CharlesDemuth)
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