Nov 7, 2012

Beech Tree

Beech Tree


Charles Burchfield

(American, 1893–1967)

Indelible pencil with touches of purple crayon on wove paper, lined

Sheet: 35.3 x 27.7 cm (13 7/8 x 10 7/8 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1953.580


Did you know?

Burchfield considered his indelible pencil drawings private works; they were shown to the public for the first time in the CMA's 1953 exhibition The Drawings of Charles E. Burchfield.


Burchfield returned to his job as a clerk in the cost department at a metal fabricating plant after he was released from the armed forces in 1919. Although he continued to work primarily in watercolor in his free time, he also experimented briefly with indelible pencil—a tool containing purple dye in addition to graphite, typically used for copying documents. Burchfield likely used the pencil at work, but enjoyed the effects he could achieve while drawing with it. In works such as this sketch of a massive tree, he drew on a wet sheet of paper, allowing the pencil’s dye to faintly bleed in a way that evoked watercolor.

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