Charles Sheeler in Doylestown

by Karen Lucic




1. Charles Corwin, New York Daily Worker, 4 February 1949, p. 12, quoted in Martin Friedman, "The Art of Charles Sheeler: Americana in a Vacuum," in Charles Sheeler (Washington, D.C.: National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968), 57.

2. Michael Kimmelman, "An Iconographer for the Religion of Technology," New York Times, 24 January 1988, sec. H, pp. 29-30.

3. Quoted in Frderick S. Wight, "Charles Sheeler," in Charles Sheeler: A Retrospective Exhibition (Los Angeles: Art Galleries, University of California, 1954), 28.

4. Sheeler's attraction to the Shakers has received some scholarly attention. See, for example, Faith and Edward D. Andrews, "Sheeler and the Shakers," Art in America 1 (1965): 590-95.

5. Autobiographical notes, Charles Sheeler Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Roll Nsh 1, frame 65.

6. Ibid., frame 74.

7. See Karen Lucic, Charles Sheeler and the Cult of the Machine (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), 43-73, and Rich Stewart, "Charles Sheeler, William Carlos Williams, and Precisionism: A Redefinition," Arts Magazine 58, (November 1983): 100-14.

8. William Carlos William, "Introduction," Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1939), 6-7

9. Hugh Prince, "Revival, Restoration, Preservation: Changing Views about Antique Landscape Features," in Our Past Before Us: Why Do We Save It?, ed. David Lowenthal and Marcus Binney (London: Temple Smith, 1981),45-46.

10. Charles B. Hosmer, Jr., The Presence of the Past: A History of the Preservation Movement in the United States Before Williamsburg (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1965), 41, 62, 81, 84, 88.

11. In 1920, Sheeler wrote that he had discovered a building in Bucks County "almost as fine as the Neeley house which seems to be our standard for comparisons." Sheeler to Mr. Swain, 18 June 1920, Henry Mercer Correspondence, Spruance Library, Bucks County Historical Society.

12. Quoted in Wight, "Charles Sheeler," 27. Sheeler was not always consistent in living by these strictures, however. During the 1930s, he accepted a commission to paint several buildings at Colonial Williamsburg, and in 1943, he painted the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. See Carol Troyen and Erica E. Hirshler, Charles Sheeler: Paintings and Drawings (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1987), 28, fig. 22.

13. Quoted in Wight "Charles Sheeler," 35.

14. Quoted in Constance Rourke, Charles Sheeler: Artist in the American Tradition (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1938), 136. A recent discussion of Sheeler and Shaker design appears in Karen Lucic, "Charles Sheeler and Henry Ford: A Craft Heritage for the Machine Age," Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 65 (1989): 37-47.

15. See Joan Shelley Rubin, Constance Rourke and American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press), 1980, and Rubin, "A Convergence of Vision: Constance Rourke, Charles Sheeler and American Art," American Art Quarterly 42 (June 1990): 191-222.

-- Adapted from the essay, "Charles Sheeler, Modernism, and National Identity," by Dr. Karen Lucic in the accompanying catalogue for the 1998 exhibition "American Modernism and the Pennsylvania Tradition" guest curated by Dr. Lucic.


About the author:

At the time of writing of this article, Karen Lucic was Associate Professor in the Department of Art at Vasser College.


Resource Library editor's note:

This article is reprinted with permission of the Allentown Art Museum.. If you have questions or comments regarding the article please contact the Allentown Art Museum directly through either this phone number or web address:

This article, accompanied by illustrations, was previously published in American Art Review, Volume X, Number 1, January-February, 1998.

Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Ms. Shana Herb and Ms. Jill Tominosky of the Allentown Art Museum, for their help concerning permissions for reprinting the above text.

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