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Charles Sheeler

River Rouge Plant, 1932

About the Artwork

In 1927, an advertising agency hired Charles Sheeler to photograph the Ford Motor Company’s new River Rouge plant, a vast complex ten miles outside Detroit, Michigan. Covering 2,000 acres and employing 75,000 people, River Rouge was the world’s largest factory and the first to fully manufacture cars on site. After finishing the photography assignment, Sheeler produced a series of paintings of the factory complex, including River Rouge Plant. Here, Sheeler depicted the plant’s coal processing and storage facility, set on the serene waters of a boat slip, using the crisp lines and hard-edge geometries of Precisionism. Although the plant had experienced severe labor disputes in the early years of the Depression, Sheeler repressed the human dimension of manufacturing work and focused instead on the factory as a paradigm of modern rationality and order. For Sheeler, American factories were the contemporary equivalent of the cathedral, “our substitute,” he said, “for religious experience.”

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About Our Prints

The Whitney Print Shop offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections and exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.

Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery. A variety of molding styles means our custom framed prints can match any type of decor.