Synopses & Reviews
Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) was an innovative visionary of American modernism, a watercolor painter who infused his landscapes of upstate New York and Ohio and scenes of small town industrialization with pulsing line and crackling, fluid color. He was also an accomplished writer who kept extensive journals and published several important essays during his lifetime. Burchfield's early watercolors were often strongly expressionistic, projecting a buoyant spirituality; he reached a critical juncture around 1920, when he turned to modernist pictorial strategies to express a severe geometry of houses, factories and barren trees, with skies traversed by stylized smoke. After moving to Buffalo in 1921, he became a founder of the Regionalist movement, but he returned to the dynamic expressionism of his youth in the 1940s; as he told a friend, It is not that I am trying to escape real life, but that the realm of fantasy offers the true solution of truly evaluating an experience. Published for DC Moore Gallery's survey exhibition (and coinciding with the Whitney Museum's 2010 retrospective), this volume presents a career-wide selection of watercolors and drawings, many of which are drawn from private collections, and have never or very rarely been exhibited. The images are complemented by four autobiographical essays, spanning the years 1928 to 1965, which provide an intriguing window into the artist's complex personality. All are out of print and difficult to locate, making this catalogue an important reference source as well as a visually striking presentation of his work.