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Industrial Study No. 2, 1935
gelatin silver print, mounted on board
signed, titled and dated in pencil (mount, recto); signed, titled and dated in pencil (mount, verso)
image/sheet: 10 1/8 x 13 in. (25.7 x 33 cm.)
mount: 19 7/8 x 15 3/4 in. (50.5 x 40 cm.)
Sotheby's, New York, October 16, 1990, lot 170;
acquired from the above sale by a private collector;
Edwynn Houk Gallery, Chicago;
acquired from the above by the present owner, 1992.
Ithaca, New York, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, An American Portrait: Photographs from the Collection of Diann and Thomas Mann, April 1–June 12, 1994, no. 48.

Lot Essay

During the 1930s Charles Sheeler's time was more evenly split between his photography and his painting than ever before. The present lot is a rare industrial study by the artist, exemplifying the Precisionist aesthetic that he championed during this era, and applied to both his paintings and photographic work. His Precisionist work simplified complex forms using a meticulous technique; the results were soaring celebrations of the beauty of machine-age subjects such as industrial plants.

Sheeler was also a member of The New York Camera Club during the 1930s and the present lot was discovered by a previous owner among a collection of prints by another Camera Club photographer. As members of the Camera Club, Sheeler and friend and fellow member Paul Strand would each go on to contribute heavily to the development of an American Modernist aesthetic in photography.

This print of Industrial Study No. 2 is mounted as if for exhibition, at a grand scale both in its enlarged format and its imagery; the utilitarian pipes, rivets and railings of this mechanical are sublimated by the clarity of line and tone in this masterful print.

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