The exhibition Charles E. Burchfield: In His Own Words was first presented at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in 2012 with an opening on November 9th. Less than a month later a team of curatorial and communications staff initiated the #IHOW campaign on social media. Every day a painting by Burchfield is paired with writing from his journals, which he kept from 1910 until the end of his life. The first post for the project was on Facebook on December 7, 2012, less than six months after the social media giant made its initial public offering. It was shared by 25 people.
Ten years later the Burchfield Penney re-presents an updated version of the exhibition, which focuses on lesser-known parts of the artist’s textual record and presents them with related works on loan and from the museum’s permanent collection. Throughout his career, Burchfield’s moods, ideas and personal critiques were recorded on thousands of scraps of paper and studies for paintings. Collectively, they form a major part of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation Archives. This special collection of over 25, 000 objects from the artist’s Gardenville Studio is housed in the museum’s Archives today.
This exhibition is an attempt to let the artist speak for himself. His was a complex and layered visual language that points to a complex human being. Like so many artists, Burchfield was one of his most important critics. The inner triumphs, struggles and ambitions of his career are reflected in his artwork and writing. They also contain traces of larger sentiments felt by the country during the first half of the 20th century.
Charles E. Burchfield: In His Own Words is presented through the generosity of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation. The Center is also grateful to our many members and supporters who make exhibitions like this possible.