Art is a representation of the happenings within the society. Art helps us communicate our feelings and pass on a message. Art can be presented in many forms including paintings and sculptures. Artistic pieces are greatly influenced by the exterior environment. The artist largely depends on the changes happening around him. Charles Scheeler’s work depicts the technological and industrial changes that were taking place in America from the 1920s. Through his paintings and photographs, the audience views the incorporation of machinery during this time, and his ultimate love contemporary urban life.
Charles Sheeler’s passion for art emanates from the fact that his father was an executive of a steamer company. This could have greatly influenced his choice to explore industrial and machinery subjects. Together with Morton Schamberg, they indulged in photography so as to support their paintings. In 1927, while working at the Ford Motor Company, his passion for machinery grew enormously. As a result, Alfred Stieglitz, the owner of the gallery at the company encouraged him to show his works in New York. Consequently, his reputation grew massively due to this exposure. He is especially known for his architectural and industrial paintings and photographs.
Sheeler is grouped among precisionists artists. Precisionists are a group of artists who are renowned for the exploration of construction and machinery in the artistic works. The group is believed to have emerged in the 1920s towards the end of the First World War. The group is also believed to have been greatly influenced by cubism, abstraction and abstract expressionism. Abstract art mainly deals with the expression of inner feelings. In abstract art, color and form are used to represent the subject of the art. Abstract art carries a lot of emotions and is highly descriptive. This implies that the art is particularly concerned with what the person looking at feels inside (Storey 112).
Sheeler’s landmark paintings were in 1930 and 1931; American Landscape (1930) and The Classic Landscape (1931). Sheeler used oil on canvas for both of them. This made them outstanding, and emphasized on the precision of the paintings. They were both depictions of the 1920s factories that were developing at the time. Sheeler’s application of one-vanishing point makes then appear realistic. The Classic Landscape depicts a factory that seems to be lonely and empty in the sunset. The railway that runs across the land is an illustration of the significance of transport accessibility from the factory (Finlay and Gardner 89).
The painting depicts order and the technological progress and machinery aesthesis at the time in modern America. The lack of workers or any persons in the painting is an indication that Sheeler’s main aim was to emphasize on the industry and the industrial changes at the time. The clean-edged lines in the paintings are a depiction of the precision attributed to the precisionist movement. The painting’s context revolved around the aftermath of World War I. After the war, America took advantage of the utopianism and there was tremendous growth throughout the US. This was unlike the European countries that were struggling to recover since the war took place on their land.
Carl Sandburg’s "Chicago" is a poem that is based on the description of Chicago city. He says that people should not judge the city based on poverty, prostitution and exploitation of the working class. On the contrary, he says that it is just like any other city, and there is more that people should learn about Chicago. The poet seems to be celebrating his city and defending it from the bad reputation that people tend to have about the city. Throughout the poem, the reader sees the manner in which the author celebrates the city. This could also be attributed to the fact that he hails from Chicago. This makes him proud of the city (Sandburg).
A comparison between Charles Sheeler’s Classic Landscape and Carl Sandburg’s Chicago shows that the two authors had precision. This is because of the fine and clear lines in Sheeler’s work. These lines are an indication of precision. In the poem, Sandburg is precise in the description of the perceptions that people have about Chicago. This is an indication that both works have a depiction of precision.
In both works, the authors are celebrating a particular theme. In Sheeler’s work, he is celebrating the industrial and technological progress that America experienced in the 1920s. Throughout his paintings, there is a constant depiction of the factories and machinery that was being used throughout America as a result of the Industrial Revolution (Storey 120). In the poem, Sandburg is seen to be celebrating his hometown, Chicago. This is evident from the manner in which he detests the perceptions that people tend to have about Chicago.
Therefore, it is clearly evident that the two authors have managed to achieve their goals with regards to their works. Sheeler’s work was a landmark painting that has been celebrated over the years. He has also attained the objective of illustrating the progress experienced in the United States of America. Thus, younger generations can learn through his paintings about the situation in America at the time. Sandburg’s poem also meets the objective of describing Chicago (Sandburg). This implies that even people who have not been to Chicago have a rough idea about the city. In addition to this, they learn more about the town in a different manner from the negative depictions that people have about the city.