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CIA graduate Charles E. Burchfield '16 was not only one of the most acclaimed watercolor realists of his time, he was one of the first CIA alumni to achieve artistic fame. Now, the Whitney Museum of American Art celebrates his work with Heat Waves in
Armed with a degree from The Cleveland Institute of Art, Charles E. Burchfield ’16 became one of the most acclaimed watercolor realists of his time - and one of the first CIA alumni to achieve artistic fame. Now, the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York City) celebrates his work with Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, on view through October 17.
Charles Burchfield (1893–1967) was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, and studied at The Cleveland Institute of Art (then known as the Cleveland School of Art). His paintings, predominantly in watercolor, fall into three periods: until the early 1920s, poetic evocations of nature; until the early 1940s, bold, somber landscapes and urban scenes; and after 1943, a return to lyric expressions of nature, painted with a heightened sense of emotion.
Although Burchfield is widely known for his depiction of crumbling Victorian mansions, false-front stores, railroad yards, and other relics of late-19th-century small-town America, his most successful works are usually considered to be his intense, boldly drawn, and highly colored portrayals of nature. He is considered one of the founders of American Scene painting.
Heat Waves in a Swamp was shown earlier this year at UCLA’s Hammer Museum. After its run at the Whitney, the exhibition will travel to the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo. For more information on this retrospective of Burchfield’s work, check out the gallery description or read this article from The New Yorker.
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