Doylestown House - Stairway, Open Door
Sheeler made a name for himself as the painter of the Machine Age, but urban and industrial landscapes were not his only subjects. A native of Philadelphia, he developed an appreciation for the architecture and artifacts of rural Pennsylvania as a young man, and he returned to preindustrial themes throughout his career.
In 1917 he made a series of photographs of his 18th-century stone farmhouse in Doylestown. The mostly interior images of the rough-hewn structure, which would appear in his later paintings, were the first photographs he made without a commission, solely for artistic purposes. Sheeler distinguished his pictures from more conventional, nostalgic images of Americana by experimenting with cropping, dramatic lighting, and disorienting spatial ambiguities.