Charles Demuth (1883-1935)
Charles Demuth (1883-1935)
Charles Demuth (1883-1935)
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The Collection of Abby and George O'Neill
CHARLES DEMUTH (1883-1935)


CHARLES DEMUTH (1883-1935)
signed and dated 'C. Demuth- 1918-' (lower left)
watercolor and pencil on paper
10 x 14 in. (25.4 x 35.6 cm.)
Executed in 1918.
Mrs. Dorothy Earle.
C.W. Kraushaar Art Galleries, New York.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York, acquired from the above, 1930.
By descent to the late owners.
New York, Museum of Modern Art, Summer Exhibition: Painting and Sculpture, June 7-October 30, 1932.

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Lot Essay

During the late 1910s Charles Demuth painted a series of Cubist explorations of rooftops and trees that are direct precursors to his later Precisionist masterpieces, such as My Egypt (1927) and Buildings, Lancaster (1930), both in the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In Houses, Demuth uses delicate planes of watercolor to create a vivacious composition exploring color, form, light and texture.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller purchased Houses in 1930 as part of her notable collection of Demuth watercolors, many of which she donated to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Notable examples she gifted include Stairs, Provincetown (1920), Acrobats (1919), and Corn and Peaches (1929). She loaned the present work to a 1932 exhibition at MoMA, where it was shown alongside works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin.

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