Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, Ralston Crawford, Georgia O'Keeffe, Louis Lozowick, Preston Dickinson

10 Art Painters in the Precisionism Era (1920s - 1950s)

Art history is a captivating journey through the various movements that have shaped the creative landscape of different eras. One such intriguing movement is Precisionism, which emerged during the 1920s and persisted until the 1950s. Precisionism, also known as Cubist-Realism, was characterized by its emphasis on geometric forms, sharp lines, and a meticulous attention to detail. Let's delve into the lives and works of 10 prominent painters from this era, each contributing their unique vision to this fascinating artistic movement.

1. Charles Demuth (1883 - 1935)

Charles Demuth's painting style was a blend of Precisionism and modernism, capturing urban scenes with geometric precision and bold color contrasts. His fascination with industrialization and architecture is evident in his meticulous portrayals.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "My Egypt" (1927) - This painting showcases a grain elevator with dynamic lines and crisp edges, depicting the artist's appreciation for industrial aesthetics.
  2. "My Town" (1920) - A masterpiece depicting Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the artist's hometown, through abstract geometric shapes and a vibrant color palette.

2. Charles Sheeler (1883 - 1965)

Charles Sheeler was a leading figure in Precisionism, renowned for his detailed compositions of machinery and architectural structures. His works often depicted the harmony between industrialization and nature.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "American Landscape" (1930) - Sheeler's fascination with industrial subjects is evident in this painting, which beautifully combines the geometric precision of man-made structures with the organic forms of the landscape.
  2. "Classic Landscape" (1931) - This artwork features a barn and silo, showcasing Sheeler's signature style of incorporating geometric shapes into rural scenes.

3. Ralston Crawford (1906 - 1978)

Ralston Crawford's art is characterized by its striking combination of abstraction and realism. His works often captured urban landscapes and maritime scenes with meticulous attention to detail.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn" (1938) - Crawford's precision is evident in this painting, where he captures the weathered textures of a barn and the bold typography of an advertisement.
  2. "Carnival Forms" (1947) - This artwork displays a dynamic composition of a Ferris wheel and other carnival structures, showcasing Crawford's ability to merge geometric forms with vibrant subjects.

4. Georgia O'Keeffe (1887 - 1986)

While Georgia O'Keeffe is often associated with American Modernism, her Precisionist works are equally notable. Her close-up paintings of flowers and natural forms reveal a meticulous attention to detail.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "City Night" (1926) - This painting diverges from O'Keeffe's more well-known floral works, portraying the New York cityscape in a Precisionist style, with its geometric skyscrapers and luminous night lights.
  2. "Black Iris" (1926) - Even in her flower paintings, O'Keeffe's Precisionist influence is apparent, as she examines the intricate structure of a black iris with precise lines and shading.

5. Louis Lozowick (1892 - 1973)

Louis Lozowick was known for his striking lithographs and paintings that showcased urban landscapes and industrial scenes. His art captured the essence of the modern, machine-driven world.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "New York" (1925) - In this painting, Lozowick portrays the grandeur of New York City's skyscrapers and bustling streets, emphasizing their geometric shapes and lines.
  2. "Pittsburgh" (1928) - This artwork reflects the artist's interest in industrial subjects, depicting the steel mills of Pittsburgh with sharp angles and a controlled palette.

6. Preston Dickinson (1891 - 1930)

Preston Dickinson's art straddled the line between Precisionism and Surrealism. His works often featured urban scenes and architectural forms, yet with a dreamlike quality.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "Excavation" (1929) - This painting captures the construction of New York City's subway system with a Precisionist touch, highlighting the intricate machinery and urban environment.
  2. "Brooklyn Bridge" (1926) - Dickinson's fascination with architectural subjects is evident in this artwork, as he portrays the iconic bridge with geometric precision and a touch of surrealism.

7. Elsie Driggs (1898 - 1992)

Elsie Driggs was celebrated for her paintings that depicted industrial subjects in a bold and stylized manner. Her works often showcased the beauty of industrialization and the geometry of man-made structures.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "Pittsburgh" (1927) - Driggs captures the steel mills of Pittsburgh in a symphony of geometric forms and intricate details, showcasing the Precisionist fascination with industry.
  2. "Rolling Power" (1939) - This painting depicts a locomotive with dynamic lines and an emphasis on the machine's power and streamlined design.

8. Niles Spencer (1893 - 1952)

Niles Spencer's art often depicted landscapes and urban scenes with a Precisionist touch. His works exhibited a balance between geometric precision and a softer, painterly style.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "Whitney Studio" (1928) - In this painting, Spencer portrays an art studio with meticulous attention to architectural details, capturing the interplay of light and shadow.
  2. "Two Mills" (1935) - Spencer's fascination with both rural and industrial subjects is evident in this artwork, which depicts two mills nestled in a landscape with a delicate blend of geometric lines and natural forms.

9. George Ault (1891 - 1948)

George Ault's art often revolved around rural and small-town scenes, capturing them with a Precisionist clarity that emphasized the geometry of buildings and landscapes.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "Bright Light at Russell's Corners" (1946) - Ault's fascination with the interplay of light and architecture is showcased in this painting, portraying a building illuminated in the night with geometric precision.
  2. "Salem" (1934) - This artwork depicts a church in Salem, New York, with a focus on its architectural details and a subdued color palette that characterizes Ault's Precisionist style.

10. Louis Ribak (1902 - 1979)

Louis Ribak's art often merged Precisionism with a touch of abstraction. His works showcased a unique exploration of form and space, capturing both urban and rural subjects.

Famous Paintings:

  1. "Machinery" (1937) - Ribak's fascination with machinery is evident in this painting, where he portrays the inner workings of a factory with geometric precision and a sense of movement.
  2. "The Party" (1945) - In this artwork, Ribak combines abstraction and geometry to depict a festive scene, showcasing his ability to infuse Precisionist elements into varied subjects.


The Precisionism era, spanning from the 1920s to the 1950s, offered a captivating intersection of geometric precision and artistic creativity. The works of these 10 painters, each with their unique approach to capturing industrial, architectural, and natural subjects, contributed to the rich tapestry of this movement. Through their detailed compositions and meticulous attention to form, these artists transformed everyday scenes into visual masterpieces that continue to captivate and inspire art enthusiasts around the world.


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