Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs

Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs

Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs

Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs

Excerpt

Here for the first time, I think, the paintings of Charles Sheeler have been assembled for a complete retrospective view giving him and others an opportunity to witness them as a whole. This is an important moment for contemporary painting. Apart from the enjoyment received, it provides a means for the study and evaluation of the work in all its phases as well as a cross-check on painting generally today.

The catalogue details elsewhere a chronological list of the exhibits. No comment on the individual pieces will be made nor does it seem appropriate to more than mention the biography so ably covered in previous publications. All that is intended is a bird's eye view of the exhibit and a quick pencil sketch of some of its features and implications -- as they appeal to one who is not a painter, a bad thing perhaps, writers incline to be gassy.

I think Sheeler is particularly valuable because of the bewildering directness of his vision, without blur, through the fantastic overlay with which our lives so vastly are concerned, "the real," as we say, contrasted with the artist's "fabrications."

This is the traditional thin soup and cold room of the artist, to inhabit some chance "reality" whose every dish and spoon he knows as he knows the language that was taught him as a child. Meanwhile, a citizen of the arts, he must keep his eye without fault upon those things he values, to which officials constantly refuse to give the proper names.

The difficulty is to know the valuable from the impost and to paint that only. The rest of us live in confusion between these things, isolated from each other by the effects of it, a primitive and complex world without air-conditioning. It is the measurable disproportion between what a man sees and knows that gives the artist his opportunity. He is the watcher and surveyor of that world where the past is always occurring . . .

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