Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Machinery

Artist:
Charles Demuth (American, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1883–1935 Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Date:
1920
Medium:
Gouache and graphite on paperboard (Beaver Board)
Dimensions:
24 x 19 7/8 in. (61 x 50.5 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Accession Number:
49.59.2
Not on view
This painting was first shown in an exhibition of Demuth's works titled Arrangements of the American Landscape Forms, held at the Daniel Gallery in New York in 1920. Rather than a traditional landscape scene, it depicts industrial architecture in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Despite some abstract use of force lines and fragmented planes, the subject remains identifiable. It is a scene of rooftop machinery set against a background of windows belonging to an adjacent factory building; the central structure is a cyclone separator, a centrifuge-like apparatus often used in industrial settings, consisting of a tank, a funnel, and two armlike duct pipes. Like Demuth's painting The Figure 5 in Gold (49.59.1), this work was dedicated to his close friend, the poet William Carlos Williams. Williams himself contemplated the analogy between the arts and technology. In 1944, he wrote, "To make two bald statements: There's nothing sentimental about a machine, and: A poem is a small (or large) machine made out of words" (introduction to The Wedge, 1944).
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (lower left): C. Demuth, 1920–/ Lancaster Pa., For W. Carlos W.
the artist (1920–d. 1935; his bequest to O'Keeffe); Georgia O'Keeffe, New York (1935–48; her gift as part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection to MMA)

New York. Daniel Gallery. "Arrangements of the American Landscape Forms by Charles Demuth," December 1920, no. 7 (as "For W. Carlos W.).

Washington, D. C. Phillips Memorial Gallery. "Charles Demuth: Exhibition of Watercolors and Oil Paintings," May 3–25, 1942, brochure no. 31 (lent by An American Place).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Alfred Stieglitz Exhibition: His Collection," June 10–August 31, 1947, no catalogue (checklist no. 47.177).

Art Institute of Chicago. "Alfred Stieglitz: His Photographs and His Collection," February 2–29, 1948, extended to March 7, 1948, no catalogue (checklist no. 96).

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Charles Demuth," March 7–June 11, 1950, no. 107.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Three Centuries of American Painting," April 9–October 17, 1965, unnum. checklist.

Art Galleries, University of California, Santa Barbara. "Charles Demuth: The Mechanical Encrusted on the Living," October 5– November 14, 1971, no. 72.

University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley. "Charles Demuth: The Mechanical Encrusted on the Living," November 22, 1971–January 3, 1972, no. 72.

Washington, D. C. Phillips Collection. "Charles Demuth: The Mechanical Encrusted on the Living," January 19–February 29, 1972, no. 72.

Utica, N. Y. Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. "Charles Demuth: The Mechanical Encrusted on the Living," March 19–April 16, 1972, no. 72.

New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Twentieth–Century American Drawing: Three Avant-garde Generations," January 23–March 21, 1976, no. 31.

Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. "Twentieth–Century American Drawing: Three Avant-garde Generations," May 27–July 11, 1976, no. 26.

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.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "William Carlos Williams and the American Scene, 1920–1940," December 12, 1978–February 4,1979, unnumbered cat. (fig. 34).

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Charles Demuth," October 15, 1987–January 17,1988, unnumbered cat. (pl. 65).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Charles Demuth," May 9–August 31, 2003, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Drawings, 1900–1950: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 24, 2005–April 24, 2006, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe," October 13, 2011–January 2, 2012, no. 59.

Emily Farnham. "Charles Demuth: His Life, Psychology, and Works." PhD diss., Ohio State University, Columbus, 1959, vol. 2, pp. 562-63, no. 385, vol. 3, pp. xviii, 842, fig. 89.

Henry Geldzahler. American Painting in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1965, p. 135, ill.

Barbara Rose. American Art Since 1900: A Critical History. New York, 1967, p. 105, pl. 4-21.

Bram Dijkstra. Cubism, Stieglitz, and the Early Poetry of William Carlos Williams: The Hieroglyphics of a New Speech. Princeton, 1969, p. 156, pl. 19.

George Heard Hamilton. "The Alfred Stieglitz Collection." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 386-87, 389, fig. 18.

Emily Farnham. Charles Demuth: Behind a Laughing Mask. Norman, Okla., 1971, pp. 119, 148.

Alvord L. Eiseman. "A Charles Demuth Retrospective Exhibition." Art Journal 31 (Spring 1972), pp. 283-86.

Sam Hunter and John Jacobus. American Art of the Twentieth Century: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. New York, 1973, p. 143, fig. 246.

Alvord L. Eiseman. "A Study of the Development of an Artist: Charles Demuth." PhD diss., New York University, School of Education, 1974, pp. 350–51, ill.

Dickran Tashjian. Skyscraper Primitives: Dada and the American Avant-Garde, 1910-1925. Middletown, Conn., 1975, pp. 210-11, ill.

Jan Thompson. "Picabia and His Influence on American Art, 1913–17." Art Journal 39 (Fall 1979), pp. 17, 19, fig. 13.

Betsy Fahlman. Pennsylvania Modern: Charles Demuth of Lancaster. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1983, pp. 19, 67.

Betsy Fahlman. "Charles Demuth's Paintings of Lancaster Architecture: New Discoveries and Observations." Arts Magazine 61 (March 1987), pp. 24, 26-27, fig. 1 no. 9, fig. 11.

Wanda M. Corn. In the American Grain: The Billboard Poetics of Charles Demuth. Poughkeepsie, N. Y., 1991, pp. 2, 32.

James M. Dennis. Renegade Regionalists: The Modern Independence of Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, and John Steuart Curry. Madison, 1998, pp. 203, 206, fig. 121.

Wanda M. Corn. The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-1935. Berkeley, 1999, pp. 202, 220.

Betsy Fahlman. Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth's Late Paintings of Lancaster. Exh. cat., Amon Carter Museum. Fort Worth, 2007, pp. 116-18, 142, 150, 153, 198, fig. 57.

Charles Brock, Nancy Anderson, and Harry Cooper. American Modernism: The Shein Collection. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2010, p. 45.

Lisa Mintz Messinger in Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 14, 100-101, 257, no. 59, ill. (color).

Rachel Mustalish in Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O'Keeffe. The Alfred Stieglitz Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ed. Lisa Mintz Messinger. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2011, p. 100.



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