From the outset of his artistic career, Charles Sheeler favored compositions of room interiors or architecture distinguished by their austere clarity and attention to hard-edged geometric forms. By the late 1920s Sheeler was almost exclusively focused on industrial architectural subjects, finding in the expansive, streamlined masses of factory buildings and refineries the modern equivalent of the imposing religious architecture of the past. Incantation, whose very title refers to some sort of spiritual evocation, is a fragmentary view of a continuous-flow oil production plant. Here Sheeler's increasingly abstract treatment of his subjects is visible in the reduction of the architectural forms to a more decorative, 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.
Oil on canvas
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)
Signed and dated lower right: "Sheeler -- 1946"
This item is not on view
Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and John B. Woodward Memorial Fund
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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
overall, 49.67_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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