George Elbert Burr (1859-1939) Biography
George Elbert Burr (1859-1939)
George E. Burr, Evening on the Little Colorado River, Etching, Circa 1920, 9" x 11"
George Elbert Burr moved from his birthplace of Monroe Falls, Ohio to Cameron, Missouri when he was ten years old. His father opened a hardware store and George, using the rail pass purchased for buying trips, began traveling around the region to sketch the landscape. He began to make etchings on scraps of zinc while still employed at the hardware store and, in December of 1878, enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago.
George E. Burr, Summer Clouds - Apache Trail, Arizona, Etching, 8" x 10"
He would last only three months, leaving to return to Cameron, where he worked at the store and married a local woman named Elizabeth Rogers. He continued his work, becoming employed as an instructor of drawing and, eventually, an illustrator for such publications as Scribner's, Harper's, The Observer, Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and The Cosmopolitan. In 1892, Burr undertook a four-year project to illustrate a catalog of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heber R. Bishop Collection of jade. The work as arduous, amounting to a thousand etchings of the collection, but earned Burr enough to travel Europe with his wife for more than four years.
George E. Burr, Grand Canyon, Etching, 12" x 10"
Upon returning to the United States, Burr settled in New Jersey, where he earned a living selling paintings and prints in galleries from New York to Kansas City. George's rapidly deteriorating health led the couple to look for a new place of residence, however, and they moved to Denver, Colorado in 1906. Here, George completed Mountain Moods, one of the two famous etching series he would complete during his lifetime. He became a member of the Brooklyn Society of Etchers and the New York Society of Etchers and traveled throughout Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico.
As Burr aged his health worsened and, in 1924, he moved with his wife to Phoenix. In Phoenix, Burr served as president of the Phoenix Fine Arts Association. He would remain in Phoenix until his death in 1939.
George E. Burr, Road to Apache Reservation, Arizona, Drypoint, Circa 1920, 10" x 8"