EMERSON BURKHART (1905-1969)
Emerson Burkhart was born on a farm in Kalida, Ohio in 1905. By the age of twenty, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and spent a summer studying at the studio of Charles Hawthorne in Provincetown, Massachusetts. This experience was particularly influential for Burkhart and he returned east after graduating.
He returned to Columbus in 1931 where he continued to paint and worked on various projects for the Works Progress Administration. In 1939, he married well-known model and writer, Mary Ann Martin, who became an inspiration for his work.
Burkhart has been described as one of Ohio's leading 20th century artists. Intrigued by capturing the essence of his subjects, Burkhart painted the "gritty realism" he saw in the faces of his neighbors and the streets of his urban surroundings. His work, which is deep with meaning and symbolism yet often touched with humor, reflected his personality and approach to life.
After Mary Ann died in 1955, Burkhart traveled extensively, spending months in Europe and Mexico studying art and sketching. He eventually returned to Columbus, remaining influential as an artist and a Columbus personality until his death in 1969.
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