Charles Demuth (American, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 1883–1935 Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Watercolor and graphite on paper
13 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (35.2 x 50.5 cm)
Gift of Henry and Louise Loeb, 1983
Not on view
Debilitated by diabetes during the last eight years of his life, Demuth's artistic output was also severely curtailed. Ironically, however, his late works, as evidenced by this 1929 watercolor of poppies (so reminiscent of O'Keeffe's poppies of 1927), are some of his boldest in terms of color, draftsmanship, and design. Unlike the luminous transparency of earlier botanical studies, the watercolor here is applied rather opaquely. The spiked contours and gentle curves of the flowers direct our eye around the composition, coming to rest on the large open blossom in the center. Presenting the full cycle of the flower - budding, opening, blooming, and decaying - he also suggests the human life cycle, and perhaps his own diminished physical strength.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): 1929./ C.Demuth
the artist (from 1929; on consignment to Alfred Stieglitz, New York; probably sold by Stieglitz to Halpert); Edith Gregor Halpert, New York (by 1960–d. 1970; her estate 1970–73; her estate sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, March 14–15, 1973, no. 21, sold to Loeb); Henry and Louise Loeb, New York (1973–83; their gift to MMA)
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Charles Demuth Memorial Exhibition," December 15, 1937–January 16, 1938, no. 38.
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Charles Demuth," March 7–June 11, 1950, no. 148 (as "Poppies"; lent by Mrs. Edith Gregor Halpert, NY).
New York. Downtown Gallery. "Charles Demuth–Oils and Watercolors," July 6–28, 1950.
Maine. Ogunquit Museum of American Art. "Americans of our Times: Seventh Annual Exhibition," June 27–September 10, 1959.
Washington, D. C. Corcoran Gallery of Art. "Loan Exhibition from the Edith Gregor Halpert Collection," January 16–February 28, 1960.
Minneapolis. Walker Art Center. "The Precisionist View in American Art," November 13–December 25, 1960.
New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "The Precisionist View in American Art," January 24–February 28, 1961.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "The Precisionist View in American Art," March–April 1961.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Precisionist View in American Art," May–June 1961.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "The Precisionist View in American Art," July–August 1961.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "A World of Flowers," May 2–June 9, 1963, unnumbered cat. (p. 171; lent by Mrs. Edith Gregor Halpert, New York).
New York. Gallery of Modern Art. "The Twenties Revisited," June 29–September 6, 1965, unnumbered cat. (as "Poppies," c. 1929, lent anonymously).
Harrisburg, Penn. William Penn Memorial Museum. "Charles Demuth of Lancaster," September 24–November 6, 1966.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Eight American Masters of Watercolor," April 23–June 16, 1968, no. 81.
San Francisco. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. "Eight American Masters of Watercolor," June 28–August 18, 1968, no. 81.
Seattle Art Museum. "Eight American Masters of Watercolor," September 5–October 13, 1968, no. 81.
Corpus Christi. Art Museum of South Texas. "A Selection of American Paintings from the Estate of the Late Edith Gregor Halpert, New York," January 19–February 10, 1973.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Still Life Painting: 1915–1950," February 1, 1995–January 28, 1996, no catalogue.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries," January 28–April 22, 2001, unnumbered cat.
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 25, 2005–April 23, 2006, no catalogue.
James W. Lane. "Notes from New York." Apollo 27 (January 1938), ill. p. 96.
James Thrall Soby inNew Art in America: Fifty Painters of the 20th Century. Ed. John I. H. Baur. Greenwich, Conn., 1957, ill. p. 54, notes that it is in the collection of Mrs. Edith Gregor Halpert.
Emily Farnham. "Charles Demuth: His Life, Psychology, and Works." PhD diss., Ohio State University, Columbus, 1959, vol. 2, p. 625, no. 535.
Charles Brock in Sarah Greenough. Modern Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His New York Galleries. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D. C., 2000, pp. 372, no. 139, ill. p. 376 (color).