Thursday 16 May 2013

Charles Green Shaw

Charles Green Shaw c1945 
© Smithsonian Archives of American Art

Charles Green Shaw (1892 - 1974) was a significant figure in American abstract art. Shaw enjoyed a varied career as a writer an illustrator, poet, modernist painter, and collector. Born to a wealthy family and orphaned at a young age, Charles and his twin brother were raised by their uncle, Frank D. Shaw. At age nine, he was already an avid painter and had illustrated his first book, "The Costumes of Nations." He also wrote and illustrated the children's book, "It Looked Like Spilt Milk," published in 1947.

Shaw graduated from Yale in 1914. He completed a year of architectural studies at Columbia University. He worked as a freelance writer for The New Yorker, The Smart Set, and Vanity Fair, where his focus was the 1920s theatre and café society. In 1927, Shaw enrolled in Thomas Hart Benton’s class at the Art Students League of New York. He also studied privately with George Luks. Shaw’s work is part of most major collections of American Art, including the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian Institution, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Corcoran Gallery. 

Photograph of the Wrigley Building with a pack of Wrigley's gum by an unidentified photographer. Identification on the verso (handwritten): Charles G. Shaw idea for montage. The resulting 1937 painting is seen as a precursor of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s: 

1937 Wrigley's 
oil on canvas 76.2 x 114.3 cm

Note: I do not have the sizes or medium for all of the following works. I have added where known.

1930s The McCord Sisters' Duet 
oil on canvasboard 50.8 x 61 cm

1932c Self Portrait

1935c Self-Portrait

1936 Day and Night Polygon 
painted wood relief 31.2 x 24.4 cm

1936 Polygon Composition  
oil on board 40.6 x 33 cm

1936 Untitled ( Intersecting Trapezoids ) 
oil & sand on canvasboard 45.7 x 38.1 cm

1937 Plastic Polygon

1937 Soft Guitar 
oil on canvasboard 45.7 x 35.6 cm

1937 Untitled

1937c Abstract Construction 
painting on wood

1938 Night Flight

1938 Plastic Polygon

1940 Abstract 
oil on board 40.1 x 30.5 cm

1940 Untitled ( MR26 ) 
oil on canvasboard 40.6 x 30.2 cm

1940c Abstract Sketch 
mixed media 19 x 31 cm

1940c Gouache sketch for World's Fair 
motorized piece 33 x 20 cm

1940c Homage to Klee

1940c Untitled ( no.22 )
1940s Buy War Bonds Poster 

1940s Buy War Bonds Poster 

1941 Flying Figure

1941 Geometric Abstractions 
oil on canvasboard 40.6 x 30.5 cm

1941 Marine Series, Sunrise Bermuda 
oil on canvasboard 30.5 x 22.9 cm

1942 Irregular Construction 
oil on canvasboard 76.2 x 50.8 cm

1942 Rooftops and Pennants

1945 Untitled ( Atomic Flight )  
oil on canvasboard 55.9 x 76.2 cm

1949 New England Church 
oil on canvasboard 55.9 x 71.1 cm

1966c Interior no.2 
oil on canvas 88.9 x 76.2 cm

1968 Flight in Space

1969 Black on White Against Yellow  
oil on canvas 127 x 101.6 cm

1969 Sentinel 
oil on canvas 50 x 40 in

1970 Black into Yellow 
oil on canvas 127 x 101.6 cm

Note: I do not have dates for the remainder of these works. Consequently they will not be in sequence:

Abstract Composition 
oil on board 27.9 x 22.2 cm

Anatomy in Space 
oil on canvas 55.9 x 45.7 cm

Composition in Construction 
oil on canvasboard 45.7 x 35.6 cm

Cosmic Composition 
oil on canvasboard 76.2 x 55.9 cm

Day Break Construction 
painted wood relief 101.6 x 76.2 cm

oil on canvasboard 32.4 x 22.9 cm

Fed Me Poison For All Those Years

In the Open 
oil on canvas 97.2 x 67.3 cm

Light Progressions 
gouache on paper 38.7 x 51.4 cm


Musical Composition 
oil on canvas 53.3 x 46.4 cm

Nautical Position 
oil on canvasboard 76.2 x 55.9 cm

oil on canvas 46.4 x 38.1 cm

Open Secret 
oil on wood box 23.5 x 15.2 cm

oil on canvasboard 40.6 x 30.5 cm

oil on canvasboard 76.2 x 55.9 cm

Plastic Polygon, Abstract Forms II

gouache on board 30.5 x 21.6 cm

Space Station 
oil on canvasboard 40.6 x 30.5 cm

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