Monday, June 4, 2012

Charles Burchfield

The Turn in the Road, 1918

Sparrow Hawk Weather, 1965
The Turn in the Road, is a macabre and ghostly scene from 1918 and is bookended by the transcendental and fantastical Sparrow Hawk Weather from 1965. Other works depict the artist’s fascination with seasonal and celestial transitions. Carefully assembled over decades, the works come from a prominent New York collection and have been privately enjoyed until now.

A visionary American artist of the 20th Century, Burchfield was a master of watercolor. His subject matter encompassed the environment around him in his native Ohio and Buffalo and projected a deeply spiritual and emotional response to the natural world, contemporary events, and social issues. In 1914, the artist himself stated: “I have a desire to paint clouds, wind & lightning and the wonderful rhythms I see in nature. In all these their grand dignity impresses me first. Therefore I must make my life & character sublime. A small nature never sees the mountaintop much less climb it.”

Charles Burchfield, An April Mood, 1946–55. Watercolor and charcoal on joined paper, 40 × 54 in. (101.6 × 137.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with partial funds from Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence A. Fleischman 55.39.