Church Street El is a painting by American artist Charles Sheeler, created in 1920 and currently held in the permanent collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art. The artwork was created using oil on canvas, measuring 60 x 67.5 x 6 cm or 23 5/8 x 26 5/8 in.
The painting primarily captures an urban landscape, with a few small figures on the left side opening up to a street lined with industrial buildings, church towers and residential homes. Sheeler creates a flat geometric composition with a limited range of earth tones that highlight the architectural elements of the scene. He combines repetition, texture and strong lines to structure his composition and convey authenticity in illustrating an American street corner at the time.
With Church Street El, Charles Sheeler showcases his mastery in depicting themes of American landscape through his different series throughout the 1910s-1930s. He continued to explore this genre with work such as American Landscape, painted 10 years later in 1930. This painting also demonstrates Sheeler’s modernist approach to revolutionary theories of breaking traditional landscape conventions and exploring new ways to transform literal space into something else entirely: psychological space based on perceptions and emotions guided by vision or memory.