Charles Burchfield

Charles Burchfield

Charles Burchfield

Charles Burchfield

Excerpt

. . . some fabulous Northland unlike any place on earth--a land of deep water-filled gashes in the earth: old lichen-covered cliffs and mesas, with black spruce forests reflected in the pools, against which white swans gleam miraculously. This romantic land of the imagination, the mysterious North that has haunted me since I was a boy--it does not really exist, but how did it come into being?

FROM Charles Burchfield's journal, 1954

(All other quotations from the same source unless otherwise noted.)

There are three Burchfields in this exhibition.

The first was a young clerk at the W. H. Mullins Company in Salem, Ohio. He had just returned from four years at the Cleveland School of Art and was painting small watercolors during his lunch hours, his evenings and on weekends. They were fantastic watercolors that visualized the song of insects and recreated childhood moods, like fear of the dark; in them, flowers had faces, trees gesticulated and cornstalks danced. At the Mullins Company he never mentioned them, for he had no intimate friends at the plant and few outside it. To most of Salem, he was a painfully shy, inarticulate young man who disappeared on weekends into Post's Woods and was sometimes seen in the distance by picnickers at The Dutchman's as he forded the Little Beaver Creek and disappeared into Trotter's Swamp. The year was 1917.

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