Capturing the soaring heights of New York City, this painting is a dramatic bird's-eye view of Broadway and Wall Street, showing a conglomeration of buildings at left and center, and the Church Street elevated train at right. Sheeler based his composition on an image from the short movie <em>Manhatta</em> (1920-21), which he made with the photographer Paul Strand. One of the first avant-garde American films, <em>Manhatta</em> celebrates the dynamic metropolis through a series of carefully composed shots of Lower Manhattan. As typical with Sheeler's work, the artist simplified forms and eliminated textures in <em>Church Street El</em> to concentrate on rhythmic interplay of shapes and color, and patterns of light and shadow.

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  • Title: Church Street El
  • Creator: Charles Sheeler (American, 1883–1965)
  • Date Created: 1920
  • Physical Dimensions: Framed: 60 x 67.5 x 6 cm (23 5/8 x 26 9/16 x 2 3/8 in.); Unframed: 41 x 48.5 cm (16 1/8 x 19 1/8 in.)
  • Provenance: The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, (Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art), (Harold Diamond, New York, NY) 1, Elizabeth Lentz Horter [1900-1985], South Langhorne, PA, Earl Horter [1880-1940], Philadelphia, PA 1
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1977.43
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Inscriptions: Signed lower right: "Sheeler 1920"
  • Fun Fact: Sheeler and his good friend, the poet William Carlos Williams, patronized speakeasies together during Prohibition.
  • Department: American Painting and Sculpture
  • Culture: America, 20th century
  • Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund
  • Collection: American - Painting
  • Accession Number: 1977.43

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