In 1904, from his home in Aix-en-Provence, an aging Cézanne summed
up his art for a young protégé: "Treat nature by the cylinder,
the sphere, the cone," he wrote to Claude Bernard, "everything in proper perspective."
Two decades later and an ocean away another young painter, George Ault (1891-1948)
applied those words to the American scene, but with some variation. For his
subject he chose not nature but the city, not mountains, apples, or bathers,
but skyscrapers, factories, and machines. Because of the industrial subject,
the solid, hard-edged forms, and pure, unmodulated colors, Ault is often linked
to the style known as Precisionism. Popular between the two World Wars, Precisionism
is best exemplified, perhaps, by the work of such contemporaries as Charles
Sheeler (JAMA cover, April 30, 1973) and Ralston Crawford.
Southgate MT. The Mill Room. JAMA. 1998;280(10):864. doi:10.1001/jama.280.10.864