Charles Demuth

Charles Henry Buckius Demuth, 1883 to 1935 was an American watercolourist who turned to oils late in his career, developing a style of painting known as Precisionism. "Search the history of American art," wrote Ken Johnson in The New York Times, "and you will discover few watercolors more beautiful than those of Charles Demuth. Combining exacting botanical observation and loosely Cubist abstraction, his watercolours of flowers, fruit and vegetables have a magical liveliness and an almost shocking sensuousness." His most famous painting, The Figure Five in Gold, was inspired by his friend William Carlos Williams's poem The Great Figure. Roberta Smith described the work in The New York Times: "Demuth's famous visionary accounting of Williams, I Saw the Figure Five in Gold, is a painting whose title and medallion-like arrangement of angled forms were both inspired by a verse the poet wrote . It's a witty homage to his close friend, the poet William Carlos Williams, and a transliteration into paint of his poem, The Great Figure. It's a decidedly American work made at a time when U.S. artists were just moving beyond European influences. It's a reference to the intertwined relationships among the arts in the 1920s, a moment of cross-pollination that led to American Modernism while also anticipating pop art by some considerable time
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