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Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Untitled (Clump of Purple Trees), October 1915; watercolor and graphite on paper, 13 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Tony Sisti, 1979

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Untitled (Clump of Purple Trees), October 1915; watercolor and graphite on paper, 13 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Tony Sisti, 1979

For his 1915 works, while still a student in theClevelandSchool of Art, Burchfield "devised a simple formula" for laying color over a graphite drawing of the subject, which he described:

 

Everything was reduced to the twelve colors of the color wheel, plus black and white, with minimum modifications.  Thus sunlit earth would be orange; shadows on it, red-violet; sunlit grass, yellow; shadows, blue or blue-green and so on.  They were executed in flat pattern with little or no evidence of a third dimension.

 

This scene depicts Wade Park inCleveland, where Burchfield derived inspiration outside of class. In the background, Trinity Cathedral appears in shadowy contours; Burchfield went to an organ recital there on January 6, 1914.