Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Euclid Avenue, May 31, 1916; watercolor and graphite on paper, 20 x 14 in.; Burcjfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Tony Sisti, 1979
Camaraderie: Burchfield, Cleveland & New York 1912-1950
On View Saturday, June 12–Sunday, August 29, 2010
Charles Burchfield did not evolve from a vacuum, nor did he seclude himself from the New York art scene, as some people have mistakenly conjectured. He enjoyed close working relationships with teachers and contemporaries wherever he lived.
This exhibition presented Burchfield and two influential sets of colleagues from key periods of his career. The earliest group of artists was affiliated with the Cleveland School of Art which Burchfield attended from 1912 to 1916. Friendships developed, leading to sketching trips and painting excursions in the farther-reaching Ohio countryside. The second group of artists became colleagues through their mutual representation by the Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries in New York, which represented Burchfield from 1929 until years after his death in 1967.
Some of the artists helped shape Burchfield’s career, such as Cleveland School of Art professor Henry G. Keller, an artist who was represented in the ground-breaking Armory Show of 1913. Burchfield demonstrated an astute understanding of the art of some of his colleagues, such as Keller, Edward Hopper, and Eugene Speicher, by writing about it in exhibition catalogs and art magazines, which were exhibited.
Using works from the collection and the Burchfield Archives, Camaraderie illustrated similarities and differences in subject matter, media, stylistic virtuosity, and interpretive approach among artists during Burchfield’s student years and professional career. In addition to Burchfield, the exhibition included Ohio artists August F. Biehle, Jr., Henry G. Keller, William Sommer, Paul B. Travis, and Frank N. Wilcox, as well as Marsden Hartley, whose work was shown with Cleveland Modernists in 1914. Burchfield’s Rehn Gallery friends included John Carroll, Edward Hopper, Peppino Mangravite, and Reginald Marsh, as well as Eugene Speicher and Virginia Cuthbert (who both had connections to Buffalo).