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George Ault

(1891–1948)

Biography

George Ault was one of the foremost artists of Precisionism, a movement that glorified the metropolis and machine technology. Yet he was also a painter of rural scenes. Whether painting the city or countryside, Ault, like Edward Hopper, was a painter who captured the spirit of isolation.

Born in Cleveland, Ault was taken to London as a boy, where he later received his artistic training.  He moved to New York, in 1922 and was soon exhibiting at the Whitney Studio Club and later at Edith Halpert’s famous Downtown Gallery.  Ault found himself unable to work within the gallery system. His unwilliness to cultivate patrons ensured him a life of financial difficulties, though his work was included in many museum exhibitions during his career.

During the Depression, Ault painted many paintings for the Works Progress Administration, but grew frustrated by a production schedule he considered more appropriate for an assembly line worker than an artist.  In 1937, Ault moved to Woodstock, New York.  Though Woodstock was a noted artist’s colony, Ault maintained his independence as a painter.