30 April 2015

Emerson Burkhart (1905-1969)

of late there has been new interest in the life & work of this Ohio artist.

I met him a couple of times at his home in Columbus in the '60s. he was a friend of my cousin Regina who owns several of his oils & who gave me this charcoal self-portrait.

probably as much has been written abt his life as abt his work. my memory is that Emerson loved living & certainly loved to talk. he seemd in constant motion. I remember us talking more abt writing than art.  above his fireplace was his portrait of Carl Sandburg. that ignited chats abt literature. he also knew Eugene O'Neill in Provincetown. I think it was that first visit in 1962 that he gave me a paperback abt banned books which is now in my collection at Kent.

my most vivid memory however is being in his convertible with Emerson at the wheel. he enjoyd speed & I did not. & I felt he was more wreckless driving than any person needed to be.  I think he was speeding us to Emil's for cheesecake.

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