Charles Burchfield

(1893-1967)

Charles Burchfield was born in 1893. He studied at the Cleveland School of Art from 1912-16. His work is generally divided into three periods. Up until 1918, Burchfield painted fantasy like woodlands and watercolor landscapes. From 1918 to 1934, he painted the streets of midwestern towns with grimy, rundown houses. This worked gained wide public acceptance. Burchfield experimented with converting sounds of nature into a system of symbolic brushstrokes. Later in his career, this system became an interpretation of his own thought processes and appears frequently in his work. His last works returned to more fantastical themes with enormous butterflies and dragonflies. In 1921, Burchfield moved to Buffalo, NY and worked as the head of the design department of a wallpaper company. He also taught at the Art Institute of Buffalo from 1949-52 and University of Buffalo from 1950-52. The Burchfield-Penny Art Center in Buffalo holds the largest collection of his work and published a comprehensive catalogue of Burchfield's paintings and journals.