Charles Sheeler, American, Yankee Clipper, 1939, Oil on canvas; 61 x 71.1 cm (24 x 28 inches), Jesse Metcalf Fund and Mary B. Jackson Fund 41.006
In 1930, shortly after the stock-market crash and the onset of the Great Depression, Henry R. Luce launched a new magazine named Fortune. The publication was distinguished from standard business journals by the inclusion of work by important artists and writers, including the American photographer and Precisionist painter Charles Sheeler. Six of Sheeler’s paintings- including images of a steam turbine, the Boulder Dam, and the wheels of The New York Central’s locomotive - illustrated the theme of “Power” in the December 1940 issue of Fortune. Among these was Yankee Clipper, which embodied the power of flight by depicting a single propeller silhouetted against the sky. Christened in 1939 by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the Yankee Clipper was Pan American World Airways’s first nonstop transatlantic plane.