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The Cover
October 13, 2010

Incantation

JAMA. 2010;304(14):1530. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1247

The angles, corners, and contrasts of Incantation (cover ) bear strong resemblance to a photograph and the instantaneous nature of that medium. Variously termed as Precisionist, Cubist-Realist, Immaculate, and Photorealist, the defining style of Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) emerges as the symbol of 20th-century progress and the burgeoning American dependence on—and fascination with—machines. Other artists belonging in the Precisionist school include Charles Demuth, George Ault, Joseph Stella, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Ironically, given his later focus, Sheeler began his artistic career at Philadelphia's School of Industrial Design. He then attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Sheeler traveled in Europe, where he was exposed to the innovative art of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, among others, and his early paintings reflect their influence (JAMA cover, April 22/29, 1992). However, he shifted his aesthetic away from painting in the Cubist manner and transitioned into photography as a path of artistic expression and of financial stability. Later, finding himself unable to resist the allure of the paintbrush, Sheeler fused his two creative outlets into one.

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