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Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), View from Our Front Porch, Salem, Ohio, 1917; watercolor on paper, 22 x 20 inches (Frame: 29 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches); Gift of Dr. Edna M. Lindemann, 2004

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), View from Our Front Porch, Salem, Ohio, 1917; watercolor on paper, 22 x 20 inches (Frame: 29 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches); Gift of Dr. Edna M. Lindemann, 2004

Dramatic light effects and unpredictable weather triggered the impulse to document the intensity of a moment’s observation and make it vibrate so convincingly that the image seems to move. Stimulated by a late May “thunder shower with snow” that defies the season, View From Our Front Porch at Salem, Ohio (May 23, 1917) literally pulsates with blinding white light. Its reverberating yellow, pink and green halo doubles as a dazzling sunburst and clap of thunder. Pelting rain and heavy snowflakes driven by a brisk breeze mix with the artist’s observations of the “hazy olive green opaque shadow” in trees to the east, and the “sky misty like dissolving snow; rattle of leaves” that frame the activity.--NW