Charles Sheeler. Suspended power, (1940-42).

ADC staff
Emily Hall Tremaine / Collection
8 September 2019 | Updated 13 January 2020

Charles Sheeler
Suspended power, (1940-42)
Oil on canvas
33 x 26 in.

"While most of the important early purchases are still in the collection, Suspended power by Charles Sheeler was a major early acquisition which unfortunately got away. The painting was one of six canvases commissioned by Fortune magazine and depicts the turbine at the Guntersville power plant on the Tennessee River. ’Here, in a room larger and more still than a corridor in the Vatican, the runner of a hydroelectric turbine floats majestically down into its pit. The important man-hours of labor will all have gone before in that hall of the mastodons, the shop of the S. Morgan Smith Co. at York, Pennsylvania, where the great bones of this turbine were shaped and fitted together’. The S. Morgan Smith mentioned in this description of the painting from Fortune magazine happened to be Emily Tremaine’s grandfather, a clergyman, who found time to invent and develop hydroelectric power. After buying the Sheeler at the Downtown Gallery, the future Mrs. Tremaine agreed to let her grandfather’s company acquire the painting for the purchase price and her cousin, then president of S. Morgan Smith, also promised to send her a similar turbine as soon as one came in damaged— she thought it would make a wonderful piece of outdoor sculpture. The turbine was never sent and years later the company gave the Sheeler to York College in Pennsylvania". (Excerpt from 1984 Tremaine Collection catalogue, p. 16, see link to catalogue listing below.)

Charles Sheeler’s Suspended power, (1940-42) is believed to be this work in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art, dated 1939, since 1985. (Click the link to see a photo of the artwork.)

To learn more about Charles Sheeler’s Suspended power, click the link(s) to article and exhibition compilations with documentation below.

The Tremaine Collection: 20th Century Masters exhibition catalogue (list of photos of artworks and designs) (1984)

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ADC staff - 26 Aug 19

The Tremaine Collection: 20th Century Masters exhibition catalogue (list of photos of artworks and designs) (1984) The following is a photo index of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT (26 February - 29 April 1984). The following photos of artworks...