“Blast Furnace” by Edmund Lewandowski

Often an artist’s personality is projected through their own artwork; style, palette choice, and perspective act as a medium for the artist to convey their values and view of the world. As for American artist Edmund Lewandowski, the mastermind behind Blast Furnace, the artistic movement in the mid-1920’s known as Precisionism served as such a medium. Precisionism placed emphasis on depicting industrial and architectural subject matter with crisp contour and sharply defined geometric shape. Having spent four years of his life working for the U.S. Air Force as a cartographer and a camouflage artist, Lewandowski was all too familiar with the values of Precisionism and used them in order to embed his identity in his artwork. Evidently, the most impressive aspects of this painting are the strikingly smooth and straight contours of the furnace and the smoke stacks. His color choice, while seemingly bleak, speaks to the prominence of industrialization in his hometown of Milwaukee, where dull factories and somber smokestacks were nothing but common. Lewandowski’s exemplification of his character through Blast Furnace provides an insight available through no other medium just as a canvas provides the ideal environment for an artist to convey him or herself.

(A Ductile Iron Factory in West Allis, Milwaukee)

William Benthem de Grave and Jacob Circelli