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Charles Ephraim Burchfield
Born in Ashtabula Harbor, OH, he became known as a town-landscape painter of middle-western American, and his paintings have had much influence on succeeding generations of artists. He has also been described as a social critic, naturalist, and transcendental visionary whose sensitivities infuse his artwork.
Spent his youth in Salem, Ohio where he developed a keen interest in art and nature. In 1912 he decided to become a painter and enrolled in the Cleveland School of Art where his most influential teacher was Henry Keller. Another major Ohio influence on his painting was William Sommer, leader of the modernist movement in the Cleveland area. He introduced Burchfield to experimental watercolor techniques and color theory, and Burchfield began attending sessions of the Kokoon Club, organized by Sommer and William Zorach to promote avant-garde art.
Burchfield served in WW1 from 1918 to 1919 and in 1921, moved to Buffalo, NY where until 1929, he worked as a wallpaper designer for the M.H.Birge & Sons Wallpaper Co. From that time, living the remainder of his life in Buffalo, he devoted himself full time to fine-art painting that ranged from rather sentimental depictions to abstraction in the 1960s.
His reading of "Winesburg, Ohio" by Sherwood Anderson changed his outlook on life, and his early romanticism gave way to painting harsh realities of the man-made world. Then in 1943, he returned to his earlier style which he explained was a "necessary deiversion" from the aftermath of WWII.
The largest single collection of his work is at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY and includes his watercolors, prints, oil paintings, and preliminary sketches for both paintings and wallpaper designs. In 1997, a major retrospective of his work was held at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC and was organize by the Columbus Museum of Art.