Curious Thing

Charles Demuth painted “I saw the Figure 5 in Gold”. I have seen this image in every survey of art class I have ever taken and in person. Demuth was making an abstract portrait of William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Great Figure” which evokes imagery of a fire engine.


The painting with its beautiful form and use of type frequently inspires me. I have always loved all forms of type, especially numbers. To me, letters evoke classic monograms and abbreviations which, by their nature are too literal. Numbers on the other hand are abstract... in a literal way. Is the ”three“ about the three bells or is the three merely an element to break up the form? The bells remind me of a fire alarm as well (three alarm fire?). Creativity is a curious thing.



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