Charles Burchfield received his artistic training at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where he was exposed to Asian art, including Chinese painting and Japanese prints. An inspired practitioner of watercolor, his work focused on the natural world and the effects of industrialization on small-town America. According to Burchfield’s friend Edward Hopper, “The work of Charles Burchfield is most decidedly founded, not on art, but on life, and the life that he knows and loves best.” The artist kept many sketchbooks and journals; an excerpt from one of these has been linked to Two Fence Posts: “Give effect of light coming from above—blend as mass to lighter & finally have only an outline of mass, which itself thins out toward the light.”
Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.
Watercolor, with gouache and traces of charcoal on cream wove paper, laid down on gray wood-pulp laminate board
Signed lower left corner: "CEB"
67.8 × 47.5 cm (26 3/4 × 18 3/4 in.)
Olivia Shaler Swan Memorial Collection
Extended information about this artwork
John J. O’Connor, Jr., “Charles Burchfield: Exhibition of his Paintings at the Carnegie Museum,” Carnegie Museum 11:10 (Mar. 1938), p. 312.
“Pittsburgh: A Comprehensive Showing of the Work of Burchfield,” Art News 36:27 (Apr. 2, 1938), p. 18.
Adalbert R. Kretzmann, “Charles Ephraim Burchfield,” Cresset 8 (Mar. 1945), p. 36.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Charles Burchfield: Catalogue of Paintings in Public and Private Collections (Utica, N.Y., 1970), pp. 176, 321, 324, and 340–41.
Colleen Lahan Makowski, Charles Burchfield: An Annotated Bibliography (Lanham, Md., 1996), pp. 10, 133, 141–42, 162, and 206.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, “An Exhibition of Watercolors and Oils by Charles Burchfield,” Mar. 8–Apr. 3, 1938, cat. 41.
Art Institute of Chicago, “Seventeenth International Exhibition of Watercolors, Pastels, Drawings, and Monotypes,” Apr. 28–May 30, 1938, p. 6, cat. 188.
Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery, “A Retrospective Exhibition of Watercolors and Oils, 1916–1943,” Apr. 14–May 15, 1944; also Scranton, Penn., Everhart Museum, 1944; Springfield, Illinois State Museum of Natural History and Art, 1944; Indianapolis Art Association and Herron Museum of Art, 1944; Louisville, J.B. Speed Museum of Art, Nov. 5–23, 1944; St. Louis, City Art Museum, Dec. 3–26, 1944; Cleveland Museum of Art, under “Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Charles Burchfield,” Jan. 5–28, 1945; Syracuse, Everson Museum of Art, Feb. 7–28, 1945; Utica, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, under “The Paintings of Charles Burchfield,” Mar. 11–Apr. 1, 1945, cat. 22; Poughkeepsie, Vassar College, Apr. 8–30, 1945; Kansas City, Mo., William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art, 1945;; Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum, 1945; San Francisco Museum of Art, Oct. 23–Nov.r 25, 1945; and Quincy, Illinois, Quincy Art Club, 1945.
Valparaiso, Ind., Christ College Gallery, Valparaiso University, “Charles Burchfield: The Middle Years,” Oct. 31–Nov. 21, 1974, no cat.
Buffalo, N.Y., Burchfield Art Center, State University College at Buffalo, “The Art Triangle: Artist/Dealer/Collector; Burchfield and His Colleagues,” May 1988-June 15, 1988.
Columbus Museum of Art, “Paintings of Charles Burchfield: North by Midwest,” Mar. 23–May 18, 1997, p. 144, fig. 15; also Buffalo, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, June 15–Aug. 17, 1997; and Washington, D.C., National Museum of American Art, Sept. 26, 1997–Jan. 25, 1998.
Art Institute of Chicago, “Modern in America: Works on Paper, 1900-1950s,” Jan. 30-May 3, 2010, no cat.
Sold by Frank K. M. Rehn Gallery, New York, to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1937.
Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.