Charles Burchfield was among the most original and poetic painters of the Cleveland modernist movement. Born in Ashtabula, he moved to Salem, Ohio, following the death of his father in 1898. After graduating from high school, he attended Cleveland School of Art, studying with William Eastman, Frederick Gottwald, Henry Keller, and Frank Wilcox. In 1914 Burchfield began attending Kokoon Klub exhibitions, and in spring 1915 he went to Brandywine to meet William Sommer. Around this time Burchfild began experimenting with the brilliant colors and simplified forms of the Berlin Heights painters. He painted his first mature works in 1915, and grad ed from the Cleveland School of Art with a degree in illustration the following spring. That summer the Cleveland School of Art sponsored his first solo exhibition, and in the fall, after attending the National Academy of Design in New York for one month, he returned to Salem. In February 1917 the Cleveland School of Art mounted his second solo exhibition. Burchfield was inducted into the army that summer. After his return in 1919 he exhibited with other Cleveland modernists at the Play House, Laukhuff’ s Book store, and other Cleveland venues. In 1921 he went on an extended sketching trip through eastern Ohio with Keller, Wilcox, and Paul Travis, exhibiting these recent paintings at the Cleveland School of Art and in the May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Later that year he moved to Buffalo to work as a wallpaper designer, a position he retained until he resigned in 1929 to become a full-time painter. Over the next 30 years he exhibited extensively at museums and galleries across the country. Solo exhibitions of his paintings were held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (1930), Pittsburgh’ s Carnegie Institute of Art (1935, 1938, 1946), and Buffalo’ s Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1944, 1955, 1963, 1967). In 1953 New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art organized a major exhibition that traveled to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Burchfield died in West Seneca, New York.
"Transformations in Cleveland Art" (CMA, 1996), p. 224