Charles Demuth

Charles Demuth

American, 1883–1935
End of the Parade: Coatesville, Pa.
1920, tempera and pencil on board, 50.5 x 40 cm (19 7/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

Demuth fused industrial style and subject matter, depicting the Lukens Steel complex with clear-cut lines and contained color—a style known as precisionism. The smokestacks and buildings are as crisply rendered as an architectural drawing, and even the billows of smoke are carefully delineated. Demuth’s painting, however, does not faithfully document the Lukens factory; one building is fancifully composed of stacked trapezoids, and rays of steely gray shoot across the sky in a decorative arrangement. Critics admired Demuth’s ability to find beauty in industrialized America. As Henry McBride noted, “He makes of it a thing that seems to glorify a subject that the rest of us have been taught to consider ugly.”