CHARLES E. BURCHFIELD: THE OHIO YEARS 1893-1921
Venue: Burchfield Penney Art Center
Address: 1300 Elmwood Ave.
City: Buffalo, NY 14222 USA
Brief-description: Paintings, drawings and ephemera from Burchfield’s early formative year.
Event url: www.burchfieldpenney.org.
Price text: Free.
About: From the year of his birth in Ashtabula Harbor (now Ashtabula) until 1921, American watercolor painter Charles E. Burchfield lived mostly in his native state of Ohio. The majority of that time was spent in the city of Salem, living in a small house on East Fourth Street with his mother and five siblings. By the time he entered high school, Burchfield’s artistic inclinations where already quite evident. Very early paintings exist from that time that suggest the direction he would go later in life. Untitled (Snow on Rooftops), 1907, shown here for the first time, was painted when he was 14 years old. The composition of overlapping buildings, accented by drifts of snow sagging off the rooftops, and warm light coming from the windows lays the foundation for later works like New Moon in January, 1918 or Church Bells Ringing, Rainy Winter Night, 1917. Another work Untitled (Orange Sky Over City Buildings), December 2, 1907 foreshadows later industrial landscapes like Factories (Red Buildings), 1920. In 1911 a bought of typhoid fever delayed his entry into college by one year. During that time he wrote that he “read John Burroughs and Thoreau and wrote in my journals in unconscious imitation of them.” This was around the same time that his interest in the natural world really began to blossom. In November of that year he found two books at the library in Salem, which fascinated him, and perhaps led to his naturalist inclinations. On November 13, 1911 he found "Wild Flowers Every Child Should Know" and the next day the "Field book of American Wildflowers". These books would inspire more than 500 botanical drawings, that listed the plants location and scientific name. This fascination with plant life would remain strong throughout his career. Many of the wildflowers he recorded during those early years would appear again and again in paintings. Some would be included in the titles of works. Others like the spring beauty would not, but his fascination was just as strong. In another journal recollection from his e