Tree and Landscape, 1883–1965
Tempera on paper on board
15⅝ x 13½ inches
Signed and dated lower right
One of the founders of American modernism, Sheeler achieved success as both a painter and a photographer. He once said, “Photography is nature seen from the eyes outward, painting from the eyes inward.” Born in Philadelphia, Sheeler studied at the city’s School of Industrial Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He showed his paintings in the 1913 Armory Show, Alfred Stieglitz asked him to be part of the 1916 Forum Exhibition, and, as his reputation grew, his work was included in New York galleries and shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Tree and Landscape was created when he was living in Ridgefield, Connecticut, a town in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains—perhaps the mountains viewed behind the branches here. In works of this period, Sheeler departed from his trademark realist style to explore the more Cubist-influenced approaches last seen early in his career.