As a young artist, Charles Demuth painted figurative watercolors including a vaudeville series & amp; floral studies. He anche painted watercolor illustrations for books & amp; plays including works by Henry James & amp; Emile Zola. As he Traveled & amp; viewed European art, Demuth Became a major exponent of Precisionism. Much of His work is rooted in French modernism including Fauvism. He painted with oil & amp; tempera as well as watercolor & amp; completed about 750 paintings & amp; 350 drawings during his lifetime.
Demuth was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of a wealthy tobacco merchant. His lonely childhood was marked with illness & amp; a sense of being an outsider. As he grew into an artist, he ADOPTED per person of a dandyfied & amp; world-weary esthete. Because of His family's wealth, he did not need to work to support himself Throughout His Life. Demuth kept close ties to His hometown, Although he moved in highly sophisticated circles in New York, Provincetown, & amp; Paris delighting in the bohemian lifestyle of These places.
Two years after graduating from high school, Demuth Studied at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia & amp; after a trip to Europe in 1904, Became a student of Thomas Anschutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts until 1911. Then he went to Paris for two years, socializing with Gertrude Stein & amp; modernist painters Matisse, Braque, Derain, Dufy & amp; Vlaminck. He attended the Academie Julian, Academie Colarossi & amp; Academie Moderne, & amp; Became friends with John Marin, & amp; Marsden Hartley.
He returned to live in Lancaster, after the death of His Father in 1912, & amp; Began a lifelong relationship with the architect Robert Locher. They Participated in the artistic circle around Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) in New York City, & amp; spent summer vacations at New England's seaside resorts. He was among the group of intellectuals associated with Marcel Duchamp & amp; the Dada Movement. He & amp; Duchamp enjoyed spending time in Harlem jazz clubs & amp; Greenwich Village bars. Demuth relished the life of the big city libertine. A close friend was Marsden Hartley, & amp; Together they went to Bermuda in 1916 & amp; 1917.
Demuth established His artistic reputation with His New York solo exhibition in 1915, at the George Daniel Gallery. That shortly after he Began experimenting with Cubism, & amp; His First Precisionist work was done in 1919. During That period he continued to produce figurative watercolors and floral still lifes as well. While His watercolors reflect the joy of the Jazz Age, much of His Precisionist subject matter is of urban landscape, barren of human emotion, & amp; reflective of post-World War I disillusionment & amp; the 1930s Great Depression.
In 1920, Demuth was diagnosed with diabetes & amp; Often diabetic was incapacitated by attacks, yet he continued to work in Lancaster & amp; travel to New York. He made a final trip to Europe in 1921, fell seriously ill, & amp; brought` was home by His Mother for insulin treatment at the Sanitarium in Morristown New Jersey. He never regained full health, & amp; spent most of the rest of His life working at home, in diabetic invalid.
In the late 1920s & amp; early 1930s, Demuth created large works in oil That ranges from prophetic iconography (The Figure 5 in Gold, 1928) to urban industrial visions of Precisionism. He Exhibited in Numerous only shows & amp; in group shows with artists such as Marin, O'Keeffe, Dove, Hartley, & amp; Alfred Stieglitz. Demuth died of complications from diabetes in 1935 at age 51. His will he bequeathed His watercolors to Robert Locher & amp; All his other works to Georgia O'Keeffe.