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American, 1859 - 1939
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, George Elbert Burr studied in Europe and at The Art Institute of Chicago. As a traveling artist, he made etchings for magazine illustrations. He captured the grandeur of the American West in his etchings, pastel drawings, and watercolors.
Burr achieved recognition for his paintings of the Rocky Mountains, but when ill health forced him to spend time in Arizona, the desert's harsh beauty became his special subject. He moved to Phoenix in 1924. In The Edge of the Desert, Arizona and A Mirage, Arizona, Burr used the drypoint technique of drawing on a metal plate with a sharp needle, capturing a range of tones from hazy mirage to jagged rocks.
Burr's works are in the collections of The Library of Congress, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]