CHARLES SHEELER (1883–1965)
Tempera on Masonite, 3 1/2 x 4 3/4 in.
Signed, dated, and inscribed (at lower right): Sheeler; (on the back): Ephrata—1934 / Charles Sheeler
RECORDED: Artist Archives, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, [n.d.] // Constance Rourke, Charles Sheeler: Artist in the American Tradition (1938; reprint 1969), pp. 9, 151 illus., 165–66
EXHIBITED: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1939, Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, p. 48 no. 33 // Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Kansas, 1974, Selected Modern Masters // Nelson-Atkins Sales and Rental Gallery, Kansas City, Kansas, 1975, Important Drawings and Watercolors from the Late 19th and Early 20th Century // Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1982–83, Lines of Different Character: American Art from 1727 to 1947 [not in cat.]
EX COLL.: Edith Gregor Halpert, New York, 1934–39; [Coe Kerr Gallery, New York]; to [Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, Kansas, 1974–77]; to Mr. Peter Fagley, Newburyport, Massachusetts; to [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1982–83]; to Mr. Richard Manney, Plantation, Florida; private collection, until 2005
The present tempera painting is one of a group of small works of the town of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, that Sheeler executed in 1934. Sheeler visited the monastic settlement of Ephrata in 1917. Founded by the German Pietist, Conrad Beissel, in 1732, the village by the time of Sheeler’s arrival was little used and had largely fallen into disrepair. The simple forms and material textures of the community’s vernacular architecture appealed to the artist, who photographed various buildings that were the most intact. One of these photographs (see Carol Troyen and Erica E. Hirshler, Charles Sheeler: Paintings and Drawings, exhib. cat. [Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1988], p. 152 illus.) was the basis for the present tempera painting, as well as a closely related, larger oil of the same title (1934, Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts; see ibid., p. 152 illus. in color), some 17 years later.