born November 8, 1883, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.
died October 23, 1935, Lancaster
Painter who helped channel modern European movements into American art and
who was also a leading exponent of Precisionism.
Demuth's early training was under Thomas Anshutz and W.M. Chase at the
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Between 1907 and 1913 Demuth made
several trips to Europe to study, and while in Paris he was attracted by the
work of Marcel Duchamp and the Cubists, influences that lasted throughout
his career. After returning to the United States, he illustrated works by
several of his favourite authors. Moving gradually away from illustrative
art, he executed a series of watercolours of flowers, circuses,and café
scenes that placed him in the first rank of watercolourists of his period.
Late in his career, Demuth began to paint advertisements and billboards into
such cityscapes as his Buildings, Lancaster (1930), in which bold,
commercial lettering is complemented by the severely hard-edged abstraction
of buildings. Among Demuth's best-known works are his poster portraits such
as the tribute to the poet William Carlos Williams, I Saw the Figure 5 in