Charles Burchfield's Journals
The Poetry of Place
Hardcover ISBN: 0791409910
The personal journals of Charles Burchfield reveal the unique vision and approach to life that established him as America's preeminent watercolorist and painter of nature. When he died in 1967 at the age of seventy-three, Burchfield had filled seventy-two bound notebooks with his personal entries, comprising some 10,000 pages. He included sketches, doodles, quotations, clippings, weather, notes, and other marginalia and insertions offering a rare glimpse into the artist's life. Presented here in book form, the edited journals are organized thematically. The editor's introductions place each section in biographical and art historical context. The material is annotated and informed by the previously unpublished archives of the Burchfield Art Center, and complemented by 41 color plates and 131 black and white illustrations.
These journals constitute a full, detailed history of an American artist's life, presenting a culmination of two major literary genres: the nineteenth century spiritual autobiography and the American nature journal. Burchfield's notes feature the activities, daily sketching trips, nature observations, personal encounters, artistic growth, and the religious conflicts of a major American artist. Beginning with the summer before his third year in high school and continuing up to the months before his death, the journals are as complete a record of Burchfield's thoughts and career as Delacroix's journals or Van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo are of theirs.
Burchfield was born in 1893 in Ashtabula, Ohio, and grew up in Salem, a small town in the northeast section of the state. He received his art training at the Cleveland School of Art. After a year's tour of duty in the Army, he moved to Buffalo, New York, and went to work as Assistant Designer and later Director of the design department of M.H. Birge and Sons Wallpaper Company.
When in 1929 Frank K.M. Rehn of New York offered to become his art dealer, Burchfield resigned from Birge in order to devote himself fully to painting. Over the years his accomplishments included one-person exhibitions in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Corcoran Gallery of Art. Among the awards and honors he received were the Chancellor's medal from the University of Buffalo, the Merit medal (gold) from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Dawson Memorial Medal, the Metropolitan Museum of Art watercolor award, and a doctorate of Fine Arts from Harvard University. In 1966 the Charles Burchfield Center was dedicated at Buffalo State College.