Label Text: Look up this long stretch of road, deserted except for some cars and a few lighted windows. Count the trees until they become indistinct against the grey horizon. You can feel the chill in the air and hear the crunch of the snow. Growing up in Ohio, Charles Burchfield was certainly acquainted with the chilling greyness of a midwinter day. This expertly painted watercolor features Linwood Avenue in Buffalo, New York, but it could be any of hundreds of streets in America.
Throughout his career, Charles Burchfield painted the American scene, usually directly from nature. He presented his symbolic and visionary ideas through sensitively observed depictions of light, motion, and sounds, using a private system of symbols and images within his paintings to express his personal spirituality. Thus a simple landscape could, in fact, be a complex and personal spiritual statement.
An artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there. To do so he must invent symbols, which if properly used, make his work seem even more real than what is in front of him.