Charles Sheeler (July 16, 1883 – May 7, 1965); American painter and commercial photographer. Recognized as one of the founders of American modernism and one of the master photographers of the 20th century.

Charles Rettrew Sheeler Jr., born in Philadelphia, PA, attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts (Philadelphia), from 1900-03, and then the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under William Merritt Chase. He found early success as a painter and exhibited at the Macbeth Gallery in 1908. Most of his education was drawing and other applied arts. He went to Italy with other students. There he was intrigued by the Italian painters of the Middle Ages such as Giotto and Piero della Francesca. In 1909, he went to Paris, just as the popularity of Cubism was skyrocketing; he was inspired by works of Cubist artists like Picasso and Braque. Returning to the US, he realized that he would not be able to make a living with Modernist painting. Instead, he took up commercial photography, focusing particularly on architectural subjects. He was a self-taught photographer, learning his trade on a 5-dollar Brownie. When starting out, he was dramatically impacted by the death of his close friend named Schamberg who painted great machine paintings that portrayed technology in a great light.

....In 1940, Fortune Magazine published a series of 6 paintings commissioned from Sheeler. To prepare for the series, Sheeler spent a year traveling and taking photographs....

Sheeler painted using a technique that complemented his photography. He was a self-proclaimed Precisionist, a term that emphasized the linear precision he employed in his depictions. As in his photographic works, his subjects were generally material things such as machinery and structures. He was hired by the Ford Motor Co. to photograph and make paintings of their factories.
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