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Houston Scene Reminds Me Of The Charles Sheeler Painting Classic Landscape—You See Stuff If You Just Go Out And Drive Around

Above is a picture I took while driving about Houston recently.

This picture reminded of the 1931 Charles Sheeler painting that you see below called Classic Landscape. 

The painting is of the massive Ford River Rouge plant in Michigan.

Here is how the painting is discussed in American Art And Architecture by Michael Lewis—

“….at the end of 1927…Ford unveiled the new Model A…to riotous crowds. Ford carefully planned its advertising campaign, engaging Charles Sheeler to photograph the complex at River Rouge where it was manufactured. His role was purely that of a  commercial artist but the immensity of the site and factory overwhelmed him. Sprawling over 1,100 acres, it had a sense of colossal scale like that of the Egyptian pyramids or the cathedrals of medieval Europe. And like those monuments, the factories seemed to embody physically the great social forces of the age….He soon began to make paintings based on his photographs, imitating not only their compositions but their photographic character: their crispness…and..abstract geometric forms in almost airless space….adopted the values of the machine–clarity, precision, razor edges, and clean form. (This) became known as Precisionism, the leading school of American realism in the art of the 1920’s and 1930’s. ”

Sometimes I like to get in my car and drive around.

When I drive around I see new things, and I see things that remind me other things.

May 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cactus Reads Art Book—Two Texas Regional Artists Of Note

Blogger’s Note—Because I have some other projects I want to take on, I’ll be offering up shorter and more formulaic posts for the remainder of August. These posts will still be quite good and will merit your visiting the blog each day. Yet at the same time, shorter posts will allow me time to accomplish other objectives. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

Book Of The Day— Cactus is reading American Realism by Edward Lucie-Smith. This book has Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler and more. There is also an interesting chapter on American regional realist art that goes beyond Grant Wood and gets into some New Deal-era Texas artists, such as Jerry Bywaters and Alexandre Hogue, who merit attention in Texas and beyond.

Link Of The Day–The liberal magazine American Prospect is marking 20 years of great reporting. Check out the magazine and consider becoming a subscriber. I’m a subscriber because everything just can’t be for free online.  Content takes money to produce.

Texas Link Of The Day—  Below you’ll find the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance blogger round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

The Round-up—

Off the Kuff continued his interview series with Congressional candidate Ted Ankrum and State Representatives Senfronia Thompsonand Garnet Coleman.

Staggering levels of formaldehyde in Barnett Shale air and the attempted cover up, breaking news by TXsharon on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS. Continue reading

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brownsville Sugar Mill Photo/Steam Turbine Painting

The photo above is of the inside of a sugar mill.

The image is from a collection of  of pictures taken along the South Texas border between 1900 and 1920. This photo was taken in Brownsville, Texas. 

Here is a link to the full collection.

The photographer was Robert Runyon.  His life story is interesting. 

Here is the proper credit for the photo —The Robert Runyon Photograph Collection, [image number, e.g., 00199], courtesy of The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Above is a picture of a machines. Below is a painting of machines. The name of the painting is Steam Turbine. It is from 1939 and was painted by Charles Sheeler.  

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Art, Texas, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Classic Landscape Is A Good Painting Of A Giant Auto Factory

The painting above is called Classic Landscape. It was painted by Charles Sheeler in 1931.

What is portrayed here is the massive Ford River Rouge plant in Michigan.

Here is how the painting is discussed in American Art And Architecture by Michael Lewis—

“….at the end of 1927…Ford unveiled the new Model A…to riotous crowds. Ford carefully planned its advertising campaign, engaging Charles Sheeler to photograph the complex at River Rouge where it was manufactured. His role was purely that of a  commerical artist but the immensity of the site and factory overwhelmed him. Sprawling over 1,100 acres, it had a sense of colossal scale like that of the Egyptian pyramids or the cathedrals of medieval Europe. And like those monuments, the factories seemed to embody physically the great social forces of the age….He soon began to make paintings based on his photographs, imitating not only their compositions but their photographic character: their crispness…and..abstract geometric forms in almost airless space….adopted the values of the machine—clarity, precision, razor edges, and clean form. (This) became known as Precisionism, the leading school of American realism in the art of the 1920’s and 1930’s. ”

I like Classic Landscape, though I find it a bit dry. It does indeed have the “values of the machine.” While I would enjoy seeing this painting in a museum, I think it would depress me if I owned it and saw it all the time.

I think we do best when we are only as precise as we must be. Not in terms of honesty, but in terms of conveying the right facts within the larger context to best explain the issue at hand.

A measure of symbolism in this painting, such as some hint of movement, might have suggested this was an auto plant.

The railroad track is a suggestion of movement, yet the tracks seem abandoned. Nothing is moving.

The clouds and shadows also imply movement. But the clouds are gray and motionless. And the shadows are reflecting off the landscape created by the factory.

The idea could be that the factory is the mover of things and not part of an interconnected world. Since there are no people or animals in the painting, it’s almost as if the factory created itself and now directs the world according to it’s own plan.

Yet the natural world, people, and, in modern times, machines, all help make the world. At least they do for the brief time human beings will be on the Earth.

If I had artistic talent, I would paint a picture suggesting harmony.

Not harmony in the sense of everything moving towards the same end or goal, but rather the measure of harmony I feel we can discern in the controlled disorder of our world, universe and all existence.

These things said, Classic Landscape is a helluva painting by a talented guy.

May 15, 2008 Posted by | Books, Politics | , , , , | 3 Comments