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A closer look: Charles Burchfield's 'The Blizzard'

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Artist: Charles Burchfield // Title: "The Blizzard (The White North Wind)" // Image from the Burchfield Penney Archives, Burchfieldpenney.org

Charles Burchfield has a painting for any weather event, and blizzards were a favorite. He has optimistic paintings of blizzards and pessimistic ones. This one strikes me as the latter.

It stands to reason that the Burchfield Penney Art Center posted the above painting to its Facbook page today, along with this apt quote from Burchfield's March 14, 1916 journal: "I walked in the blizzard tonight..."

In the piece, begun in 1918, Burchfield brings the whipping wind to life in a picture that seems to speak of dark natural forces. The ominous clouds, the shuddering tree, the glowing houses -- all of it seems supernatural and forbidding. It's classic Burchfield, perfect for a day like this, when most of us have grown deeply disenchanted with the snow and wonder what kinds of unseen havoc this particular White North Wind might be wreaking on our region's collective psyche.

--Colin Dabkowski

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