The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

American Art and the Influence of Europe

What is Precisionism?

Precisionism, a term coined by American modernist artist Charles Sheeler (1883–1965), is sometimes also called “Cubist Realism.” The movement began in the 1920s and was an early American modernist movement characterized by geometric simplification and broad areas of flat, hard-edged color. Precisionist paintings often depict abstract architectural or industrial scenes. The precisionist work of Charles Sheeler, such as Church Street El (1920) are clearly influenced by the artists’ experience as a photographer, and emphasize the man-made world. Other artists associated with Precisionism are Charles Demuth (1883–1935) and Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), whose works Radiator Building - Night (1927) and City Night (1926) are good examples of the style.


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