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Doylestown House - The Stove

1916–17
Charles Sheeler (American, 1883–1965)


Dimensions

Sheet: 23.8 x 17.1 cm (9 3/8 x 6 3/4 in.)

Accession Number

2002.886

Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View

Collections

Americas, Photography

Classifications

Photographs

Beginning about 1910, Charles Sheeler rented a small eighteenth-century fieldstone house in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, as a weekend retreat. The simple house’s unadorned whitewashed walls, cast-iron stove, and narrow wooden staircase appealed to the aspiring modernist, and the images he made of it constitute his first series of “artistic” photographs. In this example, the dark silhouette of the stove is lit from behind and set off against the stark rectilinear forms of a window and door, resulting in a surprisingly avant-garde image of an American vernacular subject. One critic, writing about these Doylestown pictures, saw the influence of Cubism in their stark compositions and sharply focused forms, claiming that Sheeler’s camera had “registered certain effects and qualities hitherto seen only in the works of Pablo Picasso and his ablest followers.”

Provenance

Purchased by William H. and Saundra B. Lane from Musya Sheeler, wife of Charles Sheeler, at the time of her husband's death in 1965; gift to the MFA from Saundra B. Lane, December 27, 2002.

Credit Line

Gift of Saundra B. Lane in memory of William H. Lane