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About the Artwork

Beginning in the 1920s, Charles Sheeler played a central role in the development of Precisionism, a modernist movement characterized by a crisp, sharply defined style that united the desire for a distinctly American art with the lessons of the Parisian avant-garde. In Cactus, he continues the rigorous pursuit of clarity and order that had marked his Precisionist studies of such vernacular emblems of the United States as barns, Shaker furniture, and factories. As was often the case, Sheeler based this painting on one of his own photographs (here a set used for one of his commercial shoots), rendering the plant, pedestal, and lamps as well as the variations in light and shadow with photographic exactitude. Sheeler's early sympathy with Cubism also remains apparent, for he has transformed this seemingly straightforward document of his working life into a complex interplay of forms in a shallow, ambiguous space. Oddly, however, Sheeler's severe and analytic approach has produced a highly enigmatic image, as the denuded cactus, stripped of its spikes, sits forlornly beneath an unplugged light. John B. Ravenal, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 324

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About Our Products

Quality


This Art on Demand Store is your exclusive source for reproductions authorized and available for purchase directly from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All items that are offered are produced using gallery quality materials and the color is managed in a manner that produces a reproduction as true to the original as technology will allow.

Selection


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.

Customization


You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Art on Demand Store. Simply enter your member id during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.