oil on canvas
United States
Unframed: 16 × 24 in. (40.64 × 60.96 cm)
Framed: 25 × 33 in. (63.5 × 83.82 cm)
Not on view

Charles Sheeler, a leading 20th-century modernist, is associated with a group of artists known as Precisionists. Focusing their descriptive method on monuments of the machine age— factories, skyscrapers, bridges—these artists were acclaimed by critics for producing work distinctly “American” in character, if stylistically informed by French cubism. In the postwar years, Sheeler adopted a more systematically geometric approach to his subjects, exemplified by this semi-abstraction. Steel-Croton represents a steel-span bridge—what the artist called a “beautiful combination of delicacy and strength”—located near his home in New York’s upper Hudson River Valley.

The painting was featured in VMFA’s contemporary art exhibition American Painting 1954 and purchased for the collection. In a letter to museum director Leslie Cheek Jr., whom Sheeler had met in the mid-1930s while working on a Rockefeller commission at Colonial Williamsburg, the artist expressed his pleasure in the museum’s acquisition.

Signed and dated lower right: "Sheeler - 1953"
upper left: VMFA tag; "National Collection of Fine Arts / TL 48.1968.53"; top center: tape - 3 (circled); upper right: "Greenville County Museum of Art / Andrew Wyeth: A Trojan Horse Modernist / March 10 - April 15, 1984"; right frame, left frame and bottom "295621"; upper right stretcher: "1953 / Charles Sheeler"; left stretcher stamp: 16 -
John Barton Payne Fund
2017: "Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form", James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, March 18 - July 9, 2017

Andrew Wyeth, a Trojan Horse Modernist, Greenville County Art Museum, Greenville, SC, March 9 – April 15, 1984

Art of the 30’s, Artmobile, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Va., January 1980 – June 1981

Images of Reality, F & M Gallery, Richmond, Va., February – March 1975

Charles Scheeler, National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C., October 9 – November 24, 1968; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, January 9 – February 16, 1969; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, March 10 – April 27, 1969

Charles Sheeler Retrospective, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA, November 15 – December 31, 1961

Five Painters of America, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, February 17 – April 3, 1955

New Accessions USA, Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Colorado Springs, CO, July 1 – September 6, 1954

Reality and Fantasy, 1900 – 1954, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, May 23 – July 2, 1954

American Painting, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Va. , February 26 – March 21, 1954; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, April 4 – May 2, 1954
Naef, Weston J. "The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography", (New York: Viking Press, 1978), 437-40.
© artist or artist’s estate

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