Charles Sheeler
Untitled, ca. 1938-1939

Sheeler was drawn to industry and machinery throughout his career. He used both photography and painting to capture the factories he visited, observing that “photography records inalterably the single image, while painting records a plurality of images willfully directed by the artist.”

Sponsored by Fortune magazine, Sheeler traveled to industrial sites such as the Boulder Dam and Tennessee Valley in the late 1930s. In this picture of a New England power plant, he captures a cluster of factories from an angle that compresses the space between them, leading the viewer to imagine that the tall smokestacks and the building in the foreground comprise a single structure. In fact, the smokestacks belong to an electric power plant, while the building is part of a coal gas manufacturing plant some distance away.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Charles Sheeler
Date created
ca. 1938-1939
gelatin silver print on paper
9 9/16 in. × 7 7/16 in. (24.29 cm × 18.89 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Anne MacDonald Walker in honor of Samuel Wagstaff
© The Lane Collection
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Charles Sheeler

Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to confirm it will be on view.

Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at copyright@sfmoma.org.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.