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Stacks in Celebration

Stacks in Celebration

Charles Sheeler’s painting, Stacks in Celebration, is a mix of reality and abstraction, as well as a mix of American and European influences: Sheeler was a photographer and took pictures of real places, like this factory. When he used his photographs to make paintings, he simplified and even eliminated details in the photographs and then added shapes that were not there, like the triangular rays you see in the sky. Sheeler’s interest in abstraction came from European artists such as Pablo Picasso, but he wanted his art to look American, not European. For Sheeler, the factory was a symbol of American technology and strength, and technology was going to change the world. By mixing the reality of this American symbol, the factory, with abstract patterns and colors, Sheeler says to the viewer that his painting, like the factory, is a product of inventiveness and creativity. For Charles Sheeler, beauty was a mix of America, technology, and modern ideas—art, he believed, could celebrate the present and the future at the same time. 

Charles Sheeler (1883 – 1965)
American
Stacks in Celebration, 1954
Oil on canvas
22 x 28 inches
Museum purchase with funds provided by the Eloise Spaeth Fund, the Virginia Rike Haswell Fund by exchange, the James F. Dicke Family, Dr. and Mrs. Robert A. Goldenberg, Mr. And Mrs. Thomas J. DeLuca, Mr. And Mrs. Thomas A. Roddy, Mr. And Mrs. William B. Ten Eyck, Mr. And Mrs. John W. Longstreth, Mrs. Joyce M. Bowden, Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation, Inc., Kathy and Frank Hollingsworth, Esther Scott Carter, The Dayton Art Institute Docent Corps, and other contributors
1998.52

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