Charles Demuth was a renowned American painter and a leading exponent of Precisionism. Born on November 8, 1883, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he had his early training under Thomas Anshutz and William Merritt Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Demuth’s use of watercolor to portray industrial and natural landscapes of his hometown stood out among his contemporaries. His paintings emerged from the abstract Cubist style to create a new movement called Precisionism.
Despite being diagnosed with an eye disease at the age of 24 that shortened his career as an artist, he continued painting symbolic portraits as tributes to modern American artists, writers, and performers who inspired him. His iconic work includes “My Egypt,” which he painted after returning from visiting Robert McAlmon in Paris. A notable work is “I Saw the Figure Five in Gold,” which used unconventional techniques for painting advertising signs as art objects.
Demuth’s contribution helped channel modern European movements into American art. The use of geometric formality demonstrated Precisionism’s inspiration from industrialization while expressing urban dynamism yet avoiding abstraction altogether.
In summary, Charles Demuth became respected among artists during his career cut short by debilitating eye disease; however, he left unmatched artistic contributions that live on today through precisionism’s formality infused with creativity.
All Charles Demuth Artwork on Artchive
|Modern Conveniences||1921||Oil On Canvas|
|Buildings, Lancaster||1930||Oil On Board|
|The Figure 5 in Gold||1928||Oil on Paper|
|Trees and Barns Bermuda||1917||Watercolor over pencil on paper|