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The Open Road

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Image of The Open Road

Charles Ephraim Burchfield (aka Charles E. Burchfield)
American, 1893–1967

The Open Road


Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, New York
23 1/2 in. x 33 1/2 in. (59.69 cm x 85.09 cm)
Medium and Support: Gouache on paper
Accession Number: 1973.0006

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase

Nature was the primary wellspring for Charles Burchfield's art. Paintings such as "The Open Road" record Burchfield's encounters with specific sites that inspired him, but they clearly carry a deeper message of man's journey through life and the world. This is a landscape transformed by Burchfield to convey a sense of spiritual loneliness. Each element of the composition is a metaphor for emptiness—the winding dirt track, the single leafless tree, and the dramatic transition from day to night are haunting reminders of man's ultimate solitude in his passage through time.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, cat. no. 73, p. 178.

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