A Thoroughly Modern Man

Charles Sheeler made new-style pictures for a new world. A choice exhibit in Boston shows them off

Even if we admit that the 20th century was not a great era for religious art, that doesn't mean it was not an age of faith among American artists. For most of his career, Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) was in the grip of two consuming devotions--the cult of modernism and the religion of the Industrial Age. It was his great intuition to bring the two together in paintings and photographs of what you might call exalted exactitude. Sheeler called it Precisionism. It was a taut, hard-edged and sanitary style that bound art and industry into hymns of praise to All Things New....

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