Burchfield, Charles

Charles Burchfield, (1893-1967)

Burchfield studied at the Cleveland School of Art with Frederick Gottwald, Henry Keller, Frank Wilcox, joined William Sommer at Brandywine and the Berlin Heights artists near Sandusky. He went on an extended sketching trip throughout eastern Ohio with Keller, Wilcox and Paul Travis. He documented what he thought and saw and the influence of his friends on his work. Over the first quarter of the century, he had two solo exhibitions at the Cleveland School of Art, and exhibited at venues like the Cleveland Play House, Laukhuff's Bookstore, the May Show of the Cleveland Museum of Art and other Cleveland venues. After 1921 he moved to Buffalo where he first became a wallpaper designer and then a full time painter. His solo shows have been held at New York's Museum of Modern Art, and more than twice each at the Pittsburgh Carnegie Institute of Art and Buffalo's Albright-Knox Galleries. The Whitney Museum of American Art organized a major exhibition of his work that traveled to the Cleveland Museum of Art which was noticed by TIME magazine that called him the "best US watercolorist. He was eulogized by President Lyndon Johnson as "artist to America" in 1967 when he died. Burchfield always gave homage to his Cleveland beginnings, most especially his teachers , most notably Henry Keller. The Burchfield-Penny Museum in Buffalo, now exhibits his work regularly. This window on the career of a painter now recognized as major, has elements that instruct us about how regional artists become recognized. Burchfield's subjects derive from his Ohio roots notably his boyhood home in Salem and expand from there as his interests become more global. Because of his writings, we know what he is thinking. Peers, people and critics take notice. The work reaches a critical mass. Books are written. His house in Salem Ohio is now restored, a project completed over the last decade through citizen will and energy. One can learn about it on www.salemohio.com/burchfield.

Retreat of Winter