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Burchfield's words on a bleak November day

Watercolorist Charles Burchfield was particularly sensitive to the change of the seasons. Burchfield Penney Art Center curator Scott Propeack posted a quote from one of Burchfield's journals on Facebook today in which the tortured artist complains about his day job in terms that should be familiar to many working artists today. The excerpt, as gloomy and forlorn as one of his overcast scenes, seems particularly appropriate for this snowy November afternoon. Here's the quote:

Nov. 8, 1925 – 
A futile day full of bitter thought and unsuccessful attempts – 
How I despise the Americans who prefer 18th century French landscapes to healthy American 20th century scenes – How I hate the architects who put themselves on the bucks for making literal copies of English architecture- 
The firm I work for contemplating a literal copy of a French landscape wall-paper, a venture that requires that I go the N.Y. and copy the color scheme-
How I despise those dealers that trade in “art objects” of the past forcing the artists of the day to do all manner of work that they should not do –
How I scorn and + loathe myself because I cannot ignore these debasing influences in American art and paint with bold lusty disregard of their false and weak standards – paint the raw crude healthy aspects of nature that I love – Because they are the dominant power I must earn my own + my family’s daily bread doing work that is directly opposed to my ideals in art – but were I a really strong character I should struggle thru with a few great things in spite of everything – 
It is a raw crude November day – menacing layer clouds with occasional flurries of snow –

--Colin Dabkowski


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