About this artwork
The Artist Looks at Nature presents an imagined scene of rolling greenery, massive stone walls, stairs, and pathways. Contrary to its title, the artist, Charles Sheeler, depicted himself seated at an easel, ignoring the brightly lit landscape in front of him. Rather, the figure works intently on a monochromatic drawing of an antiquated stove, which is based on one of Sheeler’s own photographs from 1917. The self-portrait also relies upon an earlier photograph by the artist.
Here, Sheeler engaged in reconstructing his own artistic past—looking back at his work across media and reconfiguring it into something new and surreal in the present. Although the painting’s intent remains unknown, it is clear that Sheeler, as artist, catalyzed and shaped this visual journey.
- Charles Sheeler
- The Artist Looks at Nature
- United States (Object made in)
- Oil on canvas
- Inscribed lower right: Sheeler. 1943
- 53.3 × 45.7 cm (21 × 18 in.)
- Gift of Society for Contemporary American Art