Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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From Clingman's Dome, No. 2

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From Clingman's Dome, No. 2
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Charles Ephraim Burchfield


From Clingman's Dome, No. 2

Creation Date


Medium & Support

watercolor over graphite on off-white wove paper


19 1/4 in. x 14 5/8 in. (48.9 cm x 37.2 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. MacDonald

Accession Number



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Throughout his career, Charles Burchfield infused his renderings of the natural world with rhapsodic fantasy and vibrational energy. Burchfield was still a student at the Cleveland School of Art when he painted this watercolor from atop Clingman’s Dome, the highest mountain in Tennessee. During this period of self-definition, the young artist recalled filling his sketchbooks with “hundreds and hundreds of studies of clouds, trees, fields, flowers and grasses, moonrises, sunsets and storms.” In this composition, Burchfield emphasizes a dramatic sky. Splashes of blue and gray define portions of the white paper into booming cloud formations. About his art, he later explained, “An artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there. To do so he must invent symbols, which, if properly used, make his work seem even more real than what is in front of him.”

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