"Suspended Power" depicts a hydraulic turbine being lowered into place at a new hydroelectric power dam in Guntersville, Alabama. It is one of several works by Charles Sheeler exploring the varieties of industrial, mechanical, and natural power in the United States. In 1938 Fortune magazine commissioned the artist to create a series of photographs and paintings on the theme of power that were published in 1940 as a portfolio in the magazine. Pennsylvania-born and -trained, Sheeler was influenced by abstract works he saw at the Armory Show in New York in 1913. His mature style is one of hard edges, smooth surfaces, and cool tonalities, in the service of seemingly highly realistic representation. Acclaimed for his paintings exploring the American industrial landscape, Sheeler was also an accomplished photographer.
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