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Charles Sheeler

American Art

Charles Sheeler saw the modern equivalent of the imposing religious architecture of the past in the expansive, streamlined masses of factory buildings and refineries. Incantation, whose very title sounds like a spiritual evocation, is a fragmentary view of a continuous-flow oil production plant. Here Sheeler reduced the architectural forms to a more two-dimensional design in which shadows play as weighty a role as the metal tanks and pipes. The lack of a human presence suggests the degree to which these vast plants had come to be viewed as nearly autonomous forces.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1946
DIMENSIONS 24 1/8 x 20 1/8 in. (61.3 x 51.1 cm) frame: 32 3/4 x 38 3/4 x 3 in. (83.2 x 98.4 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed and dated lower right: "Sheeler -- 1946"
CREDIT LINE Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and John B. Woodward Memorial Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Charles Sheeler (American, 1883–1965). Incantation, 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 1/8 x 20 1/8 in. (61.3 x 51.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and John B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 49.67 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 49.67_PS20.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 49.67_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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