The Buggy
Status undetermined

Charles Sheeler
American, Pennsylvania, 1917
Gelatin silver print
7 11/16 x 9 5/8 in.

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In this dramatically illuminated image of a Bucks County barn interior, a parked buggy takes center stage. Charles Sheeler created the vivid contrast between light and dark by placing a photographer's lamp at the far end of the barn. The soft shadows on the right wall of the barn imbue the image with a sense of mystery. Rough-hewn, wooden planks marking the entrance to the stall produce the effect of a picture within a picture, much like a frame around a painting.

An overwhelming sense of abandonment permeates the scene. How many years has this buggy remained unused in its stall? In many ways, this photograph documents a disappearing way of life. At the time this image was made, gas and steam-powered vehicles began to replace horse-drawn carriages on America's roadways.

Domestic and utilitarian objects fascinated Charles Sheeler. He collected early American furniture and photographed interiors in his native Southeastern Pennsylvania region. Sheeler often used these photographs as studies for paintings and drawings.