23 3/8 x 20 7/8 in. (59.4 x 53 cm)
Charles Ephraim Burchfield
(Ashtabula Harbor, OH, 1893 - 1967, Buffalo, NY)
Medium and Support:
Watercolor, charcoal and graphite
Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Babcock
Location: Not currently on view
As a symbol of American invention and progress, the telegraph pole and its wires frame a depressing landscape. The curved pole, clearly a tree cut down and stripped of its bark and limbs, is a powerful metaphor for the abuse that man and nature experience under the unstoppable momentum of industry. Railroad tracks lined by austere workers’ huts lead the viewer’s eyes back to an industrial inferno.
Buffalo artist Charles Burchfield felt a great deal of reverence for the natural world. His nuanced depictions of the industrial landscape were indictments of environmental abuse.
[label text for Modern Icon: The Machine As Subject in American Art exhibition, February 3 – March 6, 2012]