Tempera and graphite
Support: Beige(1) wove paper (Rives BFK)
Sheet: 31.6 x 56.1 cm (12 7/16 x 22 1/16 in.); Image: 20.4 x 45.5 cm (8 1/16 x 17 15/16 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1996.252
Charles Sheeler was commissioned by the Ford Motor Company to spend six weeks photographing its new factory, and this drawing relates to the images he created then.
Charles Sheeler based this work, a combination of painting and drawing, on a photograph he took of a Ford Trimotor airplane on the assembly line at the company's plant near its huge River Rouge facility in Dearborn, Michigan. The artist felt that photography could help him see things in a more objective and truthful way, so that he could concentrate on representing pure form. Sheeler loved industrial subjects and held an optimistic view of the impact of modern machines on everyday life -- even during the Great Depression, when this drawing was made. His style became known as "Precisionism" because of its crisp, clear forms and elimination of detail.
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