Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form at James A. Michener Art Museum, March 18 – July 9, 2017

Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form, a groundbreaking exhibition that features never-before-seen photographs by Charles Sheeler, one of America’s most celebrated modernists. Inspired by Sheeler’s portrait and fashion work for Condé Nast from 1926 to 1931, the multimedia show will feature a significant display of these newly discovered photographs as well as paintings and other photographs created by Sheeler, 1920s fashion ensembles, and Sheeler-designed textiles. The exhibition evokes the exuberance, glamour, and promise of the Jazz Age.

The core of the exhibition is 85 portraits and fashion photographs from this period, on loan from the Condé Nast archives. Models adorned in jewels and couture gowns, literary giants of the era, and Broadway actors and Ziegfeld Follies dancers: the subject matter is as sensational as the Jazz Age itself. The exhibition also features select prints from Sheeler’s famous Doylestown House series as well as his photographs of modern sculpture and early portraiture, the film Manhatta (a collaboration with Paul Strand), and period costumes on loan from the collections of major institutions.” — James A. Michener Art Museum

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Bobbe Arnst, Vanity Fair, July 1, 1928. © Condé Nast.

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Aldous Huxley, Vanity Fair, April 1, 1927. © Condé Nast.

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Mme. Lassen seated in an Armchair, Vogue, September 1928. © Condé Nast.

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Helen Menken, Vanity Fair, October 1, 1931. © Condé Nast.

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Ina Claire as Betsy Ross, Vanity Fair, July 1, 1926. © Condé Nast.

Gilbert Adrian for MGM Studios, Evening gown, 1931, silk, velvet, and metal. Gift of Mrs. Thomas E. Burns Jr., The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University. Image courtesy of the Drexel Digital Museum Project. Photograph by Dave Gehosky.

Worth, Evening dress, 1927, green and gold silk. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Mrs. Henry W. De Forest, 1955.

Worth, Dress, 1926-27, lounging ensemble: pale pink-beige chiffon and floral lace. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Mrs. Paul Pennoyer, 1971.

Worth, Evening Coat, 1924, cherry red voided velvet and ermine. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Mrs. Paul Pennoyer, 1982.

Worth, Evening Dress, 1924-27, ivory satin, silver metallic machine-made lace, mine-cut brilliants. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Mr. Robert Winthrop, 1986.

“This exhibition will show how Sheeler’s modernist vision was refined over the course of his time at Condé Nast,” said Kirsten M. Jensen, Ph.D., the Gerry & Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the Michener Art Museum and curator of the exhibition. “It was while there he fine-tuned his particular style—objective, distant, and rigorously formal—that he then applied to all of his subsequent work.”

Images courtesy James A. Michener Art Museum.