Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 06.09. – Sunday, 02.11.2003

Charles Sheeler – American Modernist

At the beginning of the 20th century, unrestricted urbanization, indiscriminate acceptance of the machine and skyscraper architecture exposed an unusual world of pictures in photography, a world that soon became a symbol of modernism. As one of America’s leading industrial and architectural photographers, the painter, film-maker and photographer Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) plays a central part in this context. His photography may be regarded as a symbol of modernism and progress, nourished by the poetry of the metropolis and urban life. From 1923 on, Charles Sheeler turned his back on the strict aesthetics of his contemporaries Paul Strand and Edward Steichen and concentrated primarily on his commercial commissions for large American enterprises during the 1920s and 30s: Kodak, US Steel Co, Pittsburgh, Fortune, General Motors, Ford Companies and others. The best-known series, made in 1927 by order of the Ford Companies, documented the River Rouge Plant factories in Detroit, Michigan. In it, Sheeler interpreted the factories as a kind of social substitute for religious expression.

The exhibition was curated by Karen E. Haas and Theodor E. Stebbins. Realisation in Winterthur: Urs Stahel. A cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.

Main sponsor: Dr. Carlo Fleischmann Foundation