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Charles Burchfield
Date: American painter, 1893–1967
Biography: Charles Burchfield was an American painter best known for his expressive watercolors of nature and small towns. Born in Ashtabula, Burchfield was raised in Salem, Ohio. His family home, where he lived from age 5 through age 28, is the subject of many of his important early paintings. Fascinated with the natural world, Burchfield considered being a nature writer before fully dedicating himself to painting, and he composed inscriptions explaining the impetus for many of his paintings. Burchfield graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1916. He later recalled the importance of his instructor there, Henry Keller, who led a generation of Ohio watercolor painters. In 1917, Burchfield produced fantastic, deeply subjective watercolors of Salem's farms and forests. He relocated to Buffalo and took a position as a designer for the H. M. Birge wallpaper company when he became engaged in 1921. In 1928, he secured representation with the Frank Rehn Gallery in New York City, allowing him to work full-time as a painter. In the twenties and thirties, he achieved great critical success for his depictions of rural and industrial subjects, which aligned with the emerging Regionalist movement. In the 1940s he returned to images of nature imbued with fantasy, often revisiting and reworking earlier paintings.