Street Scene


Charles E. Burchfield ( American, 1893 - 1967 )

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General Description

Burchfield first came to Buffalo, New York, in 1921 to design wallpaper for a local firm. There, he painted many of the haunting townscapes that speak of loneliness, isolation, and mystery. Referring to this work, Burchfield himself said, "For me the `picture' was the grim dramatic quality of the buildings in the eerie light of an imminent storm." "Street Scene" depicts a box-gatherer pulling his cart down Genesee Street on a day in early spring. The scene derives a surreal quality from the giant trade signs of a molar and a pair of shears, and the "false-front" effect of the central structure. A master watercolorist, Burchfield used the medium to express visual equivalents of sounds and psychic sensations, often splicing together large sheets of paper to create such monumental works.