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Entries in Precisionism (4)

Monday
Aug062018

Preston’s Precisionism

Preston Dickinson - Factory - c. 1920 - Oil on canvas - Height: 75.88 cm (29.88 in.), Width: 64.14 cm (25.25 in.) Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH (click photo for larger image)American artist Preston Dickinson (1891-1930) was among those modern artists known as Precisionists. Dickinson grew up in New York, where he worked as an office boy in a marine architect’s firm. One of the partners of the company was so impressed by the young boy’s sketches that he offered to pay for his tuition at the Art Students League. Dickinson studied there for four years, then traveled to France, where he sketched at the Louvre and exhibited at the Salons. On his return to New York, he painted images of Manhattan and the Harlem River while selling socks door-to-door to support himself. He moved to Spain in 1930 but died a few months later from pneumonia, at the age of forty-one.

Precisionism is a smooth, sharply defined painting style used by several American artists in representational canvases executed primarily during the 1920s. While Precisionism can be seen as a tendency present in American art since the colonial period, the style of 20th-century Precisionist painters had its origins in Cubism, Futurism and Orphism. Unlike the artists affiliated with the latter movements, the Precisionists did not issue manifestos. They were not a school or movement with a formal program. During the 1920s, however, many of them exhibited their works together, particularly at the Daniel Gallery in New York City.

Monday
Nov212016

Preston Dickinson: A Fine Precisionist Lost Too Soon

Preston Dickinson - Industry - oil on canvas - 29 1/8 x 18 1/4 in. (74.0 x 46.5 cm) - Smithsonian American Art Museum (click photo for larger image)(William) Preston Dickinson (1889-1930) grew up in New York, where he worked as an office boy in a marine architect’s firm. One of the partners of the company was so impressed by the young boy’s sketches that he offered to pay for his tuition at the Art Students League.

Dickinson studied at the League for four years, then traveled to France, where he sketched at the Louvre and exhibited at the Salons. On his return to New York, he painted images of Manhattan and the Harlem River while selling socks door-to-door to support himself. 

Dickinson moved to Spain in 1930 but died a few months later from pneumonia, at the age of forty-one.

Monday
Feb112013

The Precisionism of Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe - The Radiator Building at Night- New York, 1927, oil on canvas, Carl van Vechten Gallery of Fine Arts, Fisk UniversityWe’ve already presented works by Precisionist artists Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler on What About Art? Precisionism was an artistic movement that emerged in the United States after World War I and was at its height during the inter-War period. The term itself was first coined in the early 1920s. Influenced strongly by Cubism and Futurism, its main themes included industrialization and the modernization of the American landscape, which were depicted in precise, sharply defined, geometrical forms. The themes originated from the streamlined architecture and machinery of the early 1900s. Precisionist artists considered themselves strictly American and tried to avoid European artistic influences. There is a degree of reverence for the industrial age in the movement, and social commentary was not fundamental to the style. The degree of abstraction in Precisionist works ranged considerably. One keen practitioner of it was Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)--with her intense clarity well-defined lines. This is particularly evident in her urban works--which are sometimes forgotten given her association with natural subjects and the New Mexico landscape. But Georgia was also very much an urbanite at certain points in her life--and a Precisionist approach was quite suitable for her renderings of life in the city.

Wednesday
Oct102012

Charles Demuth, Precisionist

Charles Demuth, Nana (Seated Left) and Satin at Laure's Restaurant (Illustration for Emile Zola's Nana) - 1916. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11" (21.6 x 27.9 cm). Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller 52.1935, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) New YorkCharles Demuth, The Golden Swan (also known as Hell Hole) - 1919 - Private collection - 8 cm (3.15 in.), Width: 10.5 cm (4.13 in.) - watercolor and pencil on paperPainter Charles Demuth (1883-1935) created works that were distinctly American and simultaneously Modern.
“Precisionism (or Cubist Realism) is a style of representation in which an object is rendered in a realistic manner, but with an emphasis on its geometric form. An important part of American Modernism, it was inspired by the development of Cubism in Europe, and by the rapid growth of industrialization of North America in the wake of innovators such as Henry Ford. In its emphasis on stylized angular forms it is also visually somewhat similar to Art Deco.”