Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202
513 345 8400
George Copeland Ault (October 11, 1891 – December 30, 1948) was an American painter. He was loosely grouped with the Precisionist movement and, though influenced by Cubism and Surrealism, his most lasting work is of a realist nature.
Ault worked in oil, watercolor and pencil. He is often grouped with Precisionist painters such as Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford because of his unadorned representations of architecture and urban landscapes. However, the ideological aspects of Precisionism and the unabashed modernism of his influences are not so apparent in his work—for instance, he once referred to skyscrapers as the "tombstones of capitalism" and considered the industrialized American city "the Inferno without the fire". Ault painted what he saw around him, simplifying detail slightly into flat shapes and planes, and portraying the underlying geometric patterns of structures. In his wife's words, painting for him was a means of "creating order out of chaos." An analytical painter and ultimately a realist, Ault is noted for his realistic portrayal of light—especially the light of darkness—for he commonly painted nighttime scenes.