The American Landscape (more from the Whitney)

ralston crawford s

In looking through the photos I took at the Whitney, I saw I focused on landscapes by iconic (at least to me) American painters of the 20th century.  The painting above is by Ralston Crawford.  Born in Canada, he grew up in Buffalo, NY, and is known for his urban and industrial landscapes, which became more abstract with time, although he always began with observed reality.  He was also a photographer.

sheeler ore into iron s

As was Charles Sheeler, a favorite of mine.  In fact, Sheeler may be more well known for his photography than his paintings.  His viewpoints often abstract machines and landscapes into patterns of light and shadow.  You can see how his photography influenced his painting in the industrial scene above.

charles demuth grain elevator s

Charles Demuth grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and often painted the buildings in his home town.  Above is a grain elevator.  He was friends with many poets and painters, and may be most well known for “I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold” which was based on a poem by William Carlos Williams.  He often used watercolor, and produced a vast and varied body of work, including many wonderful still lifes.

stuart davis s

Stuart Davis is well known for his bright and jazz-influenced work.  His paintings add color to the urban landscape, although he also produced many black and white linear abstractions as well.

Davis, and the artists above, are all considered to be Precisionists:  they took the urban and industrial world of the early 20th century and abstracted it, often sharpening its edges.  Georgia O’Keeffe’s early cityscapes are also considered to be part of this group.

chiura obata landscape s

The one non-Precisionist landscape I photographed at the Whitney on my visit is also by one artist I did not know.  Chiura Obata was represented by a wall of beautiful woodcuts of California.  Like so many Japanese-Americans, he was interned in World War II, and organized art classes, with help from friends in California, in the camps.  He was also a wonderful painter.

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18 responses to “The American Landscape (more from the Whitney)”

  1. cdog5 says :

    Ooo, I love all of these pieces (never seen them). I can tell we have similar tastes in art! Glad to “visit” these works via your trip to the Whitney! 🙂 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      It’s always fun for me to share the art I see and like…glad you enjoyed it too.
      And Charlie…great hat!


      • cdog5 aka "Deb" says :

        I’m so happy when you share works from galleries/museums I haven’t gotten to yet — danke! And yes, Charlie’s hat — despite the scowl he gives me every time I make him put it on, I, and most people, think he’s adorable in it! 🙂 (Dogs! What do they know about fashion!) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon Mann says :

    Thank you for this gift today, Kerfe. I’m thrilled.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kirkistan says :

    These are wonderful, Kerfe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Claudia McGill says :

    I revisited some old friends and met some new ones. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tedgiffin says :

    Thank you so much for the info. I had no idea that Davis and company were called Precisionists. I thought more of Davis as Jazz , some sort of modernist. I
    will really have to open the old Art History books or websites to further investigate. I used to be a guard at an Art Museum. When the gallery had no visitors, I got to sit in front of a mammoth Stuart Davis painting and it was flanked by a giant Picasso.. I liked Stuart so much more..The other artists I thought of as constructivist. Once again thank!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Davis is definitely more colorful than the others…and he diverged even more as he got older. But if you look at the early black and white drawings especially you can really see the connection. That was an aspect of his work that I was not aware of.
      Picasso…the good the bad and the ugly. But the good was very good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. artandmoondreams says :

    Wonderful feature, love the virtual tour and being introduced to new artists and a few forgotten ones…always inspiring and always enjoyable. Thank you for sharing. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

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