Charles Sheeler, Conversation – Sky and Earth, oil on canvas, 1940
Amon Carter Museum director Ron Tyler points out that the acquisiition of a major painting by pioneering American modernist Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) significantly adds to the musem’s collection of his work, which had included one drawing, five prints and six photographs. Sheeler coined the term “precisionism” to describe his own balancing act between modern abstraction and more traditional realism. His work always has a sense of almost metallic structure to it and a pinpoint, pared-away feeling of clarity, no matter the subject, although his career as a photographer known for his work on Ford Motor’s groundbreaking River Rouge factory certainly exemplified his material and style. Conversation – Sky and Earth was part of a pictorial essay on industrial power that Sheeler painted for Fortune magazine — it included one on a hydroelectric turbine (Suspended Power, 1939), currently owned by the Dallas Museum of Art. In fact, the DMA exhibited the entire series in 2006.