Charles Demuth (American, 1883-1935)
Absinthe Drinker, 1907
Black ink on paper
6 3/4 H. x 8 5/8 W. inches
Signed and Dated LowerRight: Demuth 07
One of America’s prominent modernists, Charles Demuth was born to a family of comfortable means in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Although plagued by ill health for most of his life, (he suffered from diabetes and a club-foot), he traveled widely in his life. He became a leading proponent of Precisionism.
He pursued art studies at the Drexel Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Thomas Anschutz, and then spent several years studying art in Paris. While there, he became a frequent visitor to the salon of Gertrude and Leo Stein.
Demuth’s health was frail; from an early age he suffered from lameness and as an adult from severe diabetes. Though plagued by illness all his life, he produced over a thousand works of art, including the well known “My Egypt,” which was inspired by grain elevators in Lancaster.
During his lifetime he sold many of his works, enjoyed favorable reviews from art critics, and was part of Alfred Stieglitz’s American Place Gallery in New York. Although he studied and painted in Philadelphia, New York, Provincetown, Paris and Bermuda, Demuth created most of his art in his home where he worked in a small second floor studio of the rear wing, overlooking the garden. The garden was tended by his mother Augusta, and was the source of inspiration for many of Demuth’s paintings