Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Figure in a Darkened Room (Posed for by My Mother, My Mother Seated in Darkened Room), 1917; watercolor on paper, 25 x 18 1/2 inches; Gift of the Retired Alumni Association, Inc, 1975
“My mother was always a willing model. The results were never flattering to her, but in no case was I really aiming at a portrait,” explained Charles Burchfield. Instead, he created a chilling wintry interior made ominous by severe shadows from the front room’s gas lamp. His mother, Alice Thomas Murphy, was married to William Charles Burchfield. She was 37 years old when her husband died, leaving her a widow with six children in 1898. The family moved to Salem, Ohio, where the single mother’s new home became the inspiration for many of the young artist’s artworks.
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Burchfield reverses the view through a window by focusing on a family member in a skewed, alienating interior. The suggestion of escape to a winter landscape beckons from the small, shaded aperture. --Content by firstname.lastname@example.org