Amon Carter print details

Chimney and Water Tower

Charles Demuth (1883-1935)

Object Details

  • Date

    1931

  • Object Type

    Paintings

  • Medium

    Oil on composition board

  • Dimensions

    24 x 30 in.

  • Inscriptions

    Recto:

    l.r. signed and dated: C. D. '31

    Verso:

    u.l. in ink on white label: National Gallery \ 1 [circled]

    u.l. in crayon [?]: 2 [circled] 17-P \ Demuth #3 \ M [circled]

    u.c in graphite: X

    u.c. in crayon [?]: Chimney & Water Tower \ 1931

    u.c label: Cat 114

    u.c. in graphite: C1

    u.c. in ink, on printed label from an American Place: Chimney and Water Tower \ 1931 \ by Charles Demuth \ 13 [circled and upside down]

    u.c. on American Place label: star shaped sticker

    u.c in graphite: [drawing of bird] $6000.00 [last two zeroes underlined]

    u.r. in graphite: S158

    c.l. in graphite: 48 \ [line] \ 63

    c.l. in graphite: [drawing of misshapen A]

    c.r. stamped in ink: COLLECTION \ AS [AS underlined] [COLLECTION and AS surrounded by a square]

    c.r. stamped in ink: COLLECTION \ AS [AS underlined] [COLLECTION and AS surrounded by a square]

    l.l. on fragment of label with border: 7-19 [illeg.]

    l.l. typewritten on printed label from Whitney Museum of American Art: 1931 [in graphite] \ Charles Demuth \ Chimney and Water Tower \ An American Place \ 509 Madison, NYC \ 29 3/4 x 24 [in graphite]

    l.c. in graphite: L

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Accession Number

    1995.9

  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

Wanting to create quintessentially American art, Demuth chose as his subjects the modern industrial sites in his hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Armstrong Cork Company, the nation’s leading producer of linoleum in the 1930s, is the subject of this painting. Rather than depicting the sprawling factory, the artist focused on the austere smokestack and water tower rising above the plant, turning these seemingly mundane features into monumental forms. He accentuates their grandeur by painting them in contrasting colors of deep red and steel gray. His idyllic vision of the company reflected his belief that America’s industrial endeavors defined its democracy, ingenuity, and uniqueness.

Additional details

Location: On view
W28-artist-CMYK-CarterBlack
See more by Charles Demuth

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Educator Resources
  • What buildings are important in a community? How might the answer to that question differ depending upon who is answering?

    Is there beauty in utilitarian objects?

    Why might an artist choose to depict something from an unexpected vantage point?/p>

    Why might an artist choose to paint in a precise and geometric style?

  • All Levels

    The artist was inspired by the modern art movement that was developing during his lifetime. He, like other artists of the modern art movement, chose unconventional, or nontraditional, subjects and perspectives. To paint factories, such as the one featured in this painting, and to raise the line of sight above street level were unusual artistic choices. Ask students to sketch a building from their community, but to sketch it from a nontraditional viewpoint. Will they look at the building from above? Below? Will they highlight a special detail of the building? Will they include the whole building or only a part? Feel free to provide a straightedge so that students can mimic Demuth’s precisionist style.

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