Charles E. Burchfield American, 1893-1967
“Every so often, when a new idea for a manner of working comes to me, I have the feeling that I am just learning how to paint. It is as if there is a vail between me and the ultimate in painting and only bit by bit, am I allowed to penetrate the mystery beyond that veil.”
–Charles E. Burchfield, 1965
Charles Ephraim Burchfield was a unique artist—not easily categorized in the pantheon of 20th-century American painting as its players severed ties with Europe as art’s respected capital. Introspective by nature, he needed to be independent, living outside the New York scene. His internal passions were camouflaged beneath an ordinary, and sometimes drab, countenance. Music, literature, and haunting memories mingled with direct observations of nature to inform his work. Ultimately Burchfield became best known for his romantic, rollicking, and fantastic landscapes, as he experimented with techniques and developed a distinctive style of watercolor painting that reflected profound respect for nature’s energy, beauty, and sounds.