George Copeland Ault

1891 – 1948

George Copeland Ault


Cleveland, Ohio


Precisionist architectural views and still-life painting

A precisionist and surrealist painter, especially noted for nocturnes, George Ault had the ability to depict lonely, everyday beauty of the world in a moment of absolute stillness. He also experimented with more traditional styles of realism, but was relatively untouched by modernist abstraction. His paintings were based on what he saw around him, many of them architectural subjects, and rendered in a quietly controlled manner.

In his work he explored a variety of modern styles, but about 1920 settled on architectural, urban themes rendered carefully and geometrically, with a great sense of design and careful paint application. The paintings had a romantic, poetic quality, and, perhaps reflecting his own personal sadnesses, often depicted isolated objects in spare settings as well as many nocturnes.

By 1946, he turned to primarily abstract subjects, a world of random shapes and imaginary landscapes. He was a great admirer of Giorgio de Chirico, Italian surrealist, and Ault’s later work showed more and more of this influence.