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12 for 12: Emerson Burkhart

June 27, 2012 at



Columbus native Emerson Burkhart believed all the world could be painted in Columbus and once declared, "I don't need to go anywhere, it's all here." Burkhart is the next in our 12 for 12 series, our Columbus Bicentennial series highlighting Columbus artists from the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection.

Burkhart was a dedicated painter of the American Scene, a school of artists from the Midwest in 1930s and 1940s whose league also included Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry. Burkhart worked on murals for the Works Progress Administration including murals on display at the Greater Columbus Convention Center and OSU's Stillman Hall.

"To come upon a painting by Burkhart, even in so fine a collection as that of the Columbus Museum of Art, is to feel that one has stumbled on something very special that others have missed," CMA Folk Art Curator Michael Hall says in his book Emerson Burkhart: An Ohio Painter's Song of Himself.

In this piece by Emerson Burkhart, The Confused Process of Becoming (Portrait of Roman Johnson), Burkhart painted fifty-four slashes on the back of the canvas to denote each session he worked on the painting.

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