Amon Carter print details

Conversation - Sky and Earth

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965)

Object Details

  • Date


  • Object Type


  • Medium

    Oil on canvas

  • Dimensions

    28 x 23 in.

  • Inscriptions


    signed and dated l.l.: Sheeler - 1940

  • Credit Line

    Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

  • Accession Number


  • Copyright

    Public domain

Object Description

In 1938, Fortune magazine commissioned Sheeler to create a pictorial essay on the theme of modern energy production. The artist traveled to Nevada, New York, and Alabama, completing six paintings for the project, including this depiction of the Hoover Dam, located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border between Arizona and Nevada.

In preparation for this painting, Sheeler first photographed the Hoover Dam from a range of vantage points, ultimately selecting as his template a dramatically cropped image taken from below the base of the dam. He portrayed in extreme perspective an electrical transmission tower, its wires slicing across a crystalline sky as they carry electricity to other parts of the country. Blazing desert light, combined with the artist’s precise brushstrokes, results in an astonishing visual clarity that contributes a sense of unreality to the scene, evoking the disorienting impact of this monumental new landscape of hydroelectric power.

—Text taken from the Carter Handbook (2023)

Additional details

Location: On view
See more by Charles Sheeler


Educator Resources
  • Why might a museum, business, civic organization, or government entity commission an artist?

    What are the benefits and/or detriments to having an artist promote an industry?

    How have artists captured the transformation of the natural landscape in works of art?

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

  • All Levels

    Activity 1
    Isolate one small section of the painting and try to reproduce it using Charles Sheeler’s precise style.

    Activity 2
    Students will imagine a story they could create that features the sky and earth as seen in this work of art. How would these two get along with each other? How would they spend time together? What happens to them? What would they say to each other? Write a conversation between sky and earth on a card with dialogue bubbles. Then, write a poem that includes some of these words.


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