Style: Modern, Realism
Background: George Copeland Ault was born on October 11, 1891 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was an American painter. He was loosely grouped with the Precisionist movement and, though influenced by Cubism and Surrealism, his most lasting work is of a realist nature.
Education: Ault spent his youth in London, England, where he studied at the Slade School of Art and St John’s Wood School of Art. Returning to the United States in 1911, he spent the rest of his life in New York and New Jersey.
Achievements: Although he had exhibited his works with some success, by the early 1930s his neurotic behavior and reclusiveness had alienated him from the gallery world. Depending on Louise for income, Ault created some of his finest paintings during this time, but had difficulty selling them. In 1948, he apparently committed suicide by drowning.
In his lifetime, his works were displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Artand the Addison Gallery of American Art, among others. worked in oil, watercolor and pencil. He is often grouped with Precisionist painters such as Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford because of his unadorned representations of architecture and urban landscapes. However, the ideological aspects of Precisionism and the unabashed modernism of his influences are not so apparent in his work—for instance, he once referred to skyscrapers as the “tombstones of capitalism” and considered the industrialized American city “the Inferno without the fire”.
Ault painted what he saw around him, simplifying detail slightly into flat shapes and planes, and portraying the underlying geometric patterns of structures. In his wife’s words, painting for him was a means of “creating order out of chaos.” An analytical painter and ultimately a realist, Ault is noted for his realistic portrayal of light—especially the light of darkness—for he commonly painted nighttime scenes. Of his later paintings, such as January, Full Moon; Black Night; August Night; and Bright Light at Russell’s Corners