Saturday, August 25, 2007

Artistic Outing In Lancaster


Today my wife and I went to the Charles Demuth studio and museum in Lancaster, PA. Demuth (1883-1935) was an American artist associated with the Precisionist school. I had never seen much of his art before, but it was interesting to see how similar in some respects my cityscapes are to his.

Like many artists, Demuth was a rather unconventional character. He was homosexual and, after his father died, lived at home with his mom for most of his life. He painted most of his greatest works in the upstairs room of their house (now the museum). Unfortunately Demuth died an early death at age 50 due to diabetes.

The museum was also hosting a show of work by the first generation American abstract impressionist artist Melville Price. Price was a friend and contemporary of Pollock, DeKooning, and others. Like many artists of that era, he created art for the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which was a New Deal initiative establish by Roosevelt. In terms of style his work could best be compared to DeKooning's, or to the early work of Mark Rothko. He eventually left NYC after gaining some notoriety to take up teaching in Philadelphia. Like other artists who did the same thing (e.g. Grace Hartigan) this apparently relegated him to "second-tier" status. Hence, he is not well-known today.

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the information about Demuth. Sounds like an interesting place to visit. I briefly studied the Precisionist Movement in a Modern Art Class last semester. The image you posted,(The Figure 5 in Gold)was based on an Imagist poem "The Great Figure" by William Carlos Williams:

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
firetruck
moving
tense
unheeded
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

J. Gordon Anderson said...

Cool, thanks for the information on the poem. I can see how he based his image on it.

One of the guys I link to, Guillem Ramos-Poqui, does many paintings based on books (and maybe poems).

Fr. Glenn Spencer said...

I can resist my favorite WCW Poem:

The Red Wheelbarrow


so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.