Art: The Old Precisionist

At 81, with his right arm paralyzed, Charles Sheeler is nearly beyond accolades. Like blueprints of a new aesthetic, his precision paintings were the reductio ad minutam of the machine age. He mixed the academicism of his teacher, William Merritt Chase, with the cubist masters, made a living as a photographer until his immaculate industrial visions caught on. He could refine the reality of a locomotive's monstrous driving wheels so that even when they are frozen in two dimensions, their tremendous momentum leaps out.

A stroke stopped Sheeler's production in 1959. Some of his last works, now on view in Manhattan's Downtown...

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