Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Charles Sheeler, American (Philadelphia, PA 1883 - 1965 Dobbs Ferry, NY)
Totems in Steel
Work Type
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Black crayon and graphite on cream wove paper
48.5 x 57.7 cm (19 1/8 x 22 11/16 in.)
framed: 61.6 × 71.8 × 2.2 cm (24 1/4 × 28 1/4 × 7/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: black crayon, l.r.: Sheeler-1935
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper, German
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper, English: lent by Downtown Gallery
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper, English: no. 66.2267
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper: CSR.88.74.3
  • exhibition label: 1987-1988, backing board, paper: Traveling exhibition, also at Whitney and MFA Dallas. Catalogue no. 53 1987/88
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper: no. 365.56
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper, English: no. 2195
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper, English: no. 39.647, lent by Downtown Gallery.
  • exhibition label: backing board, paper: label partially covered
  • gallery label: backing board, paper, English: no. 71
[Downtown Gallery, New York, New York], sold to Paul J. Sachs, Cambridge, Massachusetts (L. 2091), 1953, bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1965.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Meta and Paul J. Sachs
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Constance Rourke, Charles Sheeler, Artist in the American Tradition, Harcourt, Brace and Co. (New York, NY, 1938), p. 167

"Five Painters of America", Worcester Art Museum News Bulletin and Calendar (Worcester, MA, March 1955), XX, p. 22, reproduced

Golden Years of American Drawings, 1905 - 1956, exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum (New York, NY, 1957), p. 35

The Quest of Charles Sheeler, exh. cat., University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA, 1963), no. 43, p. 22, reproduced fig. 11

Agnes Mongan, Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965]: given and bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, exh. cat., Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1965), cat. no. 71, repr.

Martin Friedman, Charles Sheeler, exh. cat., National Collection of Fine Arts (Washington, D.C, 1968), reproduced, no. 80

Abraham A. Davidson, "Charles Sheeler, Paintings and Photographs at the Whitney", Arts Magazine (March 1969), vol. XLIII, ill. p. 40

Martin Friedman, Charles Sheeler, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY, 1975), reproduced p. 86

Seymour Simmons, III and Mark S. A. Winer, Drawing: the Creative Process, Prentice-Hall, Inc. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1977), reproduced in b/w, p. 241, fig. 9.2

Malerei und Photographie im Dialog von 1840 bis Heute, exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich, Switzerland, 1977), p. 405, pl. 598

Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at Harvard: The Formation of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press, 1985). With an essay by John Coolidge and a preface by John M. Rosenfield. To accompany the inaugural exhibition at the Sackler Museum, Oct 21 1985 - Jan 5 1986, p. 36, fig. 20

Carol Troyen and Erica E. Hirshler, Charles Sheeler: Paintings and Drawings, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1987), no. 53, reproduced

[Unidentified article], Bijutsu Techo (Japan, May 1988), reproduced p. 37

Modern Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan, 1999), cat. no. 47, repr. (color)

Charles Brock, Charles Sheeler: Across Media, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and University of California Press (Washington, DC and Berkeley, 2006), pp. 48, 51, 116, cat. 17 (repr.)

Melissa Venator, Lynette Roth, and Merrill C. Berman, Carl Grossberg: Works in the Merrill C. Berman Collection, ed. Melissa Venator, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2018), p. 26, fig. 13, ill. (b/w)

Emma Acker, Cult of the Machine: Precisionism and American Art, exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, 2018), p. 168, cat. no. 89, ill. (color)

Exhibition History

An Exhibition of Paintings by Charles Burchfield and Charles Sheeler, Society of Arts and Crafts, Detroit, 01/12/1935 - 02/02/1935

17th International Exhibition of Watercolors, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 01/01/1938 - 12/31/1938

Charles Sheeler: Paintings, Drawings, Photographs, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 01/01/1939 - 12/31/1939

This is Our City: An Exhibition of Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Prints, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 03/11/1941 - 04/13/1941

Five Painters of America, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, 02/17/1955 - 04/03/1955

Contemporary American Drawings, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 01/11/1956 - 02/26/1956

Golden Years of American Drawings 1950 - 1956, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, 01/22/1957 - 03/19/1957

The Quest of Charles Sheeler, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 03/17/1963 - 04/14/1963

American Drawings Lent by the Fogg Museum, Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lexington, 06/30/1964 - 09/30/1964

Memorial Exhibition: Works of Art from the Collection of Paul J. Sachs [1878-1965] Given and Bequeathed to the Fogg Art Museum Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/15/1965 - 01/15/1966; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 12/19/1966 - 02/26/1967

Charles Sheeler Memorial Exhibition, National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, 10/09/1968 - 11/24/1968; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 01/09/1969 - 02/16/1969; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 03/10/1969 - 04/27/1969

Perception and Illusion, St. Paul's School, Concord, 02/01/1971 - 02/28/1971

Charles Sheeler, the Works on Paper, Palmer Museum of Art, University Park, 02/10/1974 - 03/24/1974; Terry Dintenfass, Inc., New York, 04/02/1974 - 04/20/1974

Malerei und Photographie im Dialog von 1840 bis Heute, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, 05/12/1977 - 07/31/1977

Charles Sheeler, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 10/13/1987 - 01/03/1988; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 01/28/1988 - 04/17/1988; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, 05/15/1988 - 07/10/1988

The Harvard Society for Contemporary Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/29/1992 - 03/07/1993

The Heavenly Twins: Edward W. Forbes, Paul J. Sachs and the Building of a Collection, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/23/1995 - 12/17/1995

Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000

Albert Kahn: Inspiration for the Modern, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, 06/02/2001 - 10/21/2001

HAA 1 Survey Course: Survey of World Art: Modern Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/23/2005 - 07/31/2005

The Cult of the Machine, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 03/24/2018 - 08/12/2018

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at