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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Water

Artist:
Charles Sheeler (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1883–1965 Dobbs Ferry, New York)
Date:
1945
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
24 × 29 1/4 in. (61 × 74.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund, 1949
Accession Number:
49.128
Not on view
In painting and photography, Sheeler presented his interest in industry’s robust architecture. He viewed American factories and industrial plants as modern-day equivalents to the Gothic cathedrals of Europe. Expressing his belief in machinery’s powerful symbolism, he said, "Industry concerns the greatest numbers—it may be true, as has been said, that our factories are our substitute for religious expression." Here, Sheeler adopted techniques from his photographic practice—cropping, sharply angled views—and applied them to painting, presenting the water plant’s massive system of pipes and buttressed towers as an imposing contemporary monument.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left) Sheeler 1945
the artist, New York (1945–at least 1946; to Downtown Gallery); [Downtown Gallery, New York, by 1948–49; sold to MMA]

New York. Downtown Gallery. "Important New Paintings and Sculpture by Leading American Artists," May 1–25, 1945, checklist no. 19 (notes that this is the first showing of this work).

Art Institute of Chicago. "The Fifty–Sixth Annual American Exhibition of Paintings," October 25, 1945–January 1, 1946, no. 132 (awarded the Norman Wait Harris Silver Medal and Prize; on sale for $2,750).

New York. Downtown Gallery. "Exhibition of Recent Paintings by Charles Sheeler," March 5–23, 1946, no. 3.

Pittsburgh. Carnegie Institute. "Painting in the United States," October 10–December 8, 1946, no. 21.

Iowa City. University of Iowa. "Third Summer Exhibition of Contemporary Art," June 15–July 30, 1947, no. 100.

Chapel Hill. Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina. 1947, no catalogue.

San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Third Annual Exhibition of Painting," December 1, 1948–January 16, 1949, unnumbered cat. (p. 24; lent by The Downtown Gallery).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "20th Century Painters: A Special Exhibition of Oils, Water Colors and Drawings Selected from the Collections of American Art in the Metropolitan Museum," June 16–October 29, 1950, unnum. brochure. (p. 11).

Iowa City. University of Iowa. "The Quest of Charles Sheeler: 83 Works Honoring His 80th Year," March 17—April 14, 1963, no. 49.

Denver Art Museum. "The American Panorama—An Exhibition," March 17–May 27, 1968, unnumbered cat. (p. 35).

Washington, D.C. National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution. "Charles Sheeler," October 10–November 24, 1968, no. 103.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Charles Sheeler," January 10–February 16, 1969, no. 103.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Charles Sheeler," March 11–April 27, 1969, no. 103.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors from the Museum's Collections," October 1–December 7, 1969, no catalogue.

New York. American Academy of Arts and Letters. "Memorial Exhibition: Lee Gatch, Hans Hofmann, Edward Hopper, Henry Schnakenberg, Charles Sheeler," March 4–April 10, 1971, no. 46.

San Juan. El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. "Arte del Siglo Veinte: EE.UU. del Museo Metropolitano de Arte," April 19–May 31, 1974, no. 13.

Moscow. State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. "Representations of America," December 15, 1977–February 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Leningrad. State Hermitage Museum. "Representations of America," March 15–May 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Minsk, Belarus. Palace of Art. "Representations of America," June 15–August 15, 1978, no catalogue.

Düsseldorf. Städtische Kunsthalle. "2 Jahrzehnte amerikanische Malerei: 1920–1940," June 10–August 12, 1979, no. 79.

Kunsthaus Zürich. "2 Jahrzehnte amerikanische Malerei: 1920–1940," August 23–October 28, 1979, no. 79.

Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. "2 Jahrzehnte amerikanische Malerei: 1920–1940," November 10–December 30, 1979, no. 79.

Canberra. Australian National Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," March 1–April 27, 1986, unnumbered cat. (p. 59).

Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery. "20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," May 7–July 1, 1986, unnumbered cat.

Tulsa, Okla. Philbrook Museum of Art. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 14–June 9, 1991, no. 31.

Miami. Center for the Fine Arts. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 29–August 24, 1991, no. 31.

Omaha. Joslyn Art Museum. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 14–November 10, 1991, no. 31.

Tampa Museum of Art. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 14, 1991–February 8, 1992, no. 31.

Greenville, S. C. Greenville County Museum of Art. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 17–May 10, 1992, no. 31.

Madison, Wisc. Madison Art Center. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 6–August 2, 1992, no. 31.

Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand Rapids Art Museum. "The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 11–November 8, 1992, no. 31.

Berlin. Deutsches Historisches Museum. "Kunst und Propaganda: Im Streit der Nationen 1930–1945," January 26–April 29, 2007, no. US/44.

C. J. Bulliet. "Religious Trends Challenge Our Materialism in Chicago Annual." Art Digest 20 (November 1, 1945), p. 8, ill. p. 7.

Robert Beverly Hale. 100 American Painters of the 20th Century: Works Selected from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1950, p. xxi, ill. p. 103.

Francis Henry Taylor. "A Report on American Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 8 (January 1950), ill. p. 134.

Lillian Dochterman. The Quest of Charles Sheeler: 83 Works Honoring His 80th Year. Exh. cat., University of Iowa. Iowa City, 1963, pp. 26–27, 50, no. 49, fig. 16.

Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, pp. 139–40, ill.

Henry Geldzahler. Arte del Siglo Veinte: EE.UU. del Museo Metropolitano de Arte/ Twentieth-Century Art: U.S.A. from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., El Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. San Juan, 1974, p. 38, no. 13, ill. p. 37.

Martin Friedman. Charles Sheeler. New York, 1975, p. 9, colorpl. 28.

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 1983, p. 419, no. 19, ill. (color).

Ross Woodrow in 20th Century Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Australian National Gallery. Canberra, 1986, p. 59, ill. (color).

Lowery S. Sims in 20th Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vol. 2, Painting: 1945–1985. New York, 1986, pp. 10–11, ill. (color, overall and detail).

Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 9, The United States of America. New York, 1987, p. 134, colorpl. 102.

Lisa M. Messinger in The Landscape in Twentieth-Century American Art: Selections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., American Federation of Arts. New York, 1991, pp. 96–97, no. 31, ill. (color).

Karen Lucic. Charles Sheeler and the Cult of the Machine. Cambridge, Mass., 1991, p. 113, fig. 56.

Nikola Doll in Kunst und Propaganda: Im Streit der Nationen 1930–1945. Exh. cat., Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin. Dresden, 2007, pp. 422–23, no. US/44, ill. (color).



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