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Charles Henry Buckius Demuth

(Nov. 3, 1883 - Oct. 25, 1935)


Charles Demuth

After Sir Christopher Wren, 1920 [Provincetown Public Library tower]
Charles Demuth (American, 1883–1935)
Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on cardboard; 24 x 20 in. (60.5 x 51 cm)


Charles Demuth (1883-1935)

Demuth spent several summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, located at the tip of Cape Cod and a popular summer destination for artists and writers in the early twentieth century. He painted a number of Provincetown landmarks, including this view of the Center Methodist Episcopal Church. In this watercolor, the church's prominent steeple and spire rise above the surrounding residential architecture. Built in 1860, the church had been designed in a variant of the English Baroque style, which is often associated with the architect Christopher Wren (1632–1723). Certain elements of Demuth's composition are indebted to his knowledge of Cubism and Futurism. Repeated, diagonal "lines of force" break the area of the sky into fragments, and the houses in the foreground seem crystallized from multiple planes; however, the overall effect is legible and cohesive. In demonstrating that he could apply his Precisionist style to more traditional subjects as well as modern industrial ones, Demuth remained a painter of the American scene.



Charles Henry Demuth, friend of Alfred Steiglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Marcel Duchamp, Henry McBride, Carl Van Vechten and Mardsen Hartley. In 1914, exhibited his watercolors in the Provincetown studio of modernist painter, E. Ambrose Webster. From 1917 to 1921, Demuth winters in Bermuda with Mardsen Hartley and enjoys summers in Provincetown.

"Three enthusiastic young artists from New York came to Provincetown because O'Neill liked it here. These were Charles Demuth, Arthur Fiske, and Zorach the sculptor. They quickly associated themselves with writers of the Provincetown Players such as O'Neill, Susan Glaspell, George Cram Cook, and Wilbur Daniel Steele and others, all of whom had one idea in common--that Art was the great universal refreshment."

from "Time and the Town - A Provincetown Chronicle" by Mary Heaton Vorse


The Provincetown Art Association and Museum has an untitled graphite drawing on paper by Demuth in it's Permanent Collection.


The Demuth Foundation
114 East King Street, Lancaster
PA 17602-2875
Tel. 717 299 9940




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