Description

    CHARLES SHEELER (American, 1883-1965)
    Barn Decorations (Hex Signs), 1959
    Tempera on plexiglass
    6-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches (16.5 x 24.1 cm)

    PROVENANCE:
    The Downtown Gallery (Edith Halpert), New York, 1959;
    Terry Dintenfass Gallery, New York;
    Drs. Macia and Meyer Friedman, and their estates, 1978-2001;
    Sotheby's, New York, American Paintings, November 28, 2001, lot 142;
    Private collection, New York.

    EXHIBITED:
    The Downtown Gallery, New York;
    Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, "American Art... 20th Century Image to Abstraction", 1967;
    Terry Dintenfass Gallery, New York.

    After World War I, Charles Sheeler and a small group of American artists, including Charles Demuth, Joseph Stella, and Georgia O'Keeffe, popularized a highly controlled genre of painting that became known as "Precisionism." Though the group's subject matter often varied greatly, all were known for a style characterized by simple forms, clear outlines and smooth surfaces.

    The Precisionist painters chose distinctly American subjects that were unique to life in the early 20th century, such as industrial landscapes and regional culture. In Barn Decorations, Sheeler applies his new technique to a familiar scene. Barn decorating reached its peak in the early 20th century and was quite common in Pennsylvania, where Sheeler resided. This reference to the folk art tradition serves as a potent reminder of Sheeler's recognition of shared artistic tenents between modernist and primitivist expressions.

    Barn Decorations (Hex Signs) is related to a large oil of the same subject - one of Sheeler's last paintings. As was often his practice after 1940, Sheeler completely resolved a composition in smaller versions before undertaking the final version, first on plexiglass, then in tempera on board. The 7 1/2 x 10 in. tempera on paper version of this work belongs to the Stephen and Sybil Stone Foundation (see M. Friedman, B. Hayes, and C. Millard, Charles Sheeler, Washington, D.C., 1968, p. 31).



    Estimate: $120,000 - $180,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Very good condition; not examined outside of frame.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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