Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rolling Power No.1

Rolling Power No. 1
Homage to Charles Sheeler

This photograph will be exhibited in the The Great Train Expo at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan December 8-9, 2012

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) painted Rolling Power as part of a 1940 series depicting industrial power commissioned by Fortune magazine. Instead of showing the entire locomotive, his painting depicts only two drive wheels, a pilot wheel, drive rods and piston of a New York Central J3A Hudson Thoroughbred locomotive, the most powerful and efficient railroad locomotive at the time. It was one of ten streamlined versions of the engine designed to pull the legendary Twentieth Century Limited, the most beautiful and modern passenger train in America.

As well as a master painter, Sheeler was an accomplished self-taught photographer and used his own photographs as reference aids in painting Rolling Power and other works in the Power series. The photograph Wheels on which Rolling Power was based is basically the same composition and format as the painting, but unfortunately it no longer exists.

Sheeler thought so highly of this photograph Wheels that he allowed fellow photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958) to reproduce it along with his entry on photographic art for the 1942 edition of The Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

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