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The Winter Art Show

June 2024
1min read

By the time he painted “ Winter Moonlight in 1951, Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) had moved beyond his depictions of small-town life and the decorative work he had done as a Buffalo, New York, wallpaper designer to loose, strong, wholly confident watercolors that combine the exact quality of light at a particular moment on a particular day with something very like religious ecstasy. In the blaze of sun through the leaves of a tree Burchfield saw “the eye of God,” and all his life he loved to go out into the weather. “Painted all day with vigor and forcefulness—” he wrote in 1955. “At times snow fell, and towards the last my sponge and water froze. What unalloyed happiness.…” His expressionistic abstractions always contained concrete truths, and in the cold radiance of his ringed winter moon above the choirs of bare trees we get both the moment itself and a sense of what Burchfield called “the unspeakable beauty of the world as it is.”

roland p. murdock collection, wichita art museum, wichita, kans.1993_8_91

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