Saturday, August 25, 2012

MWA VI: Demuth's Ptown Tower

Any guesses why I've chosen this work as August's Monthly Work of Art? The answer will be revealed soon enough! Until then, here's what the American Wing curatorial staff have to say about the 1920 watercolor by Charles Demuth, After Sir Christopher Wren, in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: "Demuth spent several summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, located at the tip of Cape Cod and a popular summer destination for artists and writers in the early twentieth century. He painted a number of Provincetown landmarks, including this view of the Center Methodist Episcopal Church. In this watercolor, the church's prominent steeple and spire rise above the surrounding residential architecture. Built in 1860, the church had been designed in a variant of the English Baroque style, which is often associated with the architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723). Certain elements of Demuth's composition are indebted to his knowledge of Cubism and Futurism. Repeated, diagonal "lines of force" break the area of the sky into fragments, and the houses in the foreground seem crystallized from multiple planes; however, the overall effect is legible and cohesive. In demonstrating that he could apply his Precisionist style to more traditional subjects as well as modern industrial ones, Demuth remained a painter of the American scene."

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