Morton Livingston Schamberg

(American, 1881-1918)

One of the best American avante-garde artists of his generation, Morton Schamberg was born in Philadelphia in 1881. He attended Central High School; the University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in Architecture; and studied under William Merrit Chase for a number of years including at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He shared a studio in Philadelphia with his former classmate Charles Sheeler and in 1908 he and Sheeler departed for Europe, eventually falling in with Gertude Stein's circle of avant-garde artists in Paris in 1908. He rapidly began exploring multiple avenues of Modernist painting: from precise illustrations of mechanical forms to Cubism, Fauvism, Dada and Futurism. One of the first painters to bring Cubism to America and credited with the first geometric "machine" paintings, predating the machine paintings of Dada artist Francis Picabia, Schamberg was a "hugely significant" American Modernist painter and pioneer of the Precisionist movement. His works are featured in the collections of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The Yale University Art Gallery, National Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art among others. Schamberg died of influenza in the pandemic of 1918.