North Woods In Spring

Charles E. Burchfield

American, 1893 - 1967

North Woods in Spring, 1951-64

  • Not On View

Watercolor on paper

Dimensions: 56 × 40 in. (142.2 × 101.6 cm)
Framed: 63 1/4 × 47 1/4 in. (160.7 × 120 cm)

Bequest of Mary Mallery Davis, 1990.31

Charles Burchfield, a native of Ohio, was raised in the town of Salem and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1912 to 1916. Although Burchfield has come to be regarded as one of the Realists known as the American Scene Painters, or Regionalists, this was a label he rejected. His work, in fact, is more that of a romantic visionary and is remarkable for its imaginative landscapes, most frequently executed in watercolor. It is from this early period that the essential conception for Nighthawks at Twilight (also at the Flint Institute of Arts) derives. Burchfield commenced work on the watercolor in 1917, which the artist later termed his “golden year,” during which he executed over two hundred images.Burchfield’s third phase commenced in the beginning of the 1940s with a break from realism and a revisiting of his earlier, more evocative approach. This return was characterized by an even more pronounced emphasis on expressing his response to the environment than the work of the late teens and the twenties. The late works exhibit a particular mood of gothic foreboding in their embellished and stylized execution, an effect he achieves by employing startling contrasts, abundant black outlines, and dramatic draftsmanship. North Woods in Spring, circa 1951-64, is from this period, and it shares with the earlier Nighthawks at Twilight an ominous and sinister aura.

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