The Don E. Weaver connection to the soil
and Central Ohio countryside:
This is Burkhart's painting of William Edwin Weaver, 1876-1968, the father of Don, the Columbus Citizen publisher who is credited with adding a major and interesting chapter to the life and times of Burkhart. The painting, circa 1964, was given to the Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society by the Weaver family to honor the publisher, a graduate of Hebron High School and Denison University.
(Photo of the painting by J-me Braig, museum director)
Script Page 13
or in the bushes...I remember a poem...I don't especially like Emerson...Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think Self Reliance got a few good thoughts in it, but...
"When man in the bush with God may meet. When I'm safe in my sylvan home, I'll tread on the pride of Greece and Rome. When I'm stretched beneath the pine...where the evening star so holy shines...
"I laughed...what are they all in their high conceit when in the bush with God may meet."
Well, ya know, you can quote me on this one...I don't want to meet God in a bush. If I go dragging something back in those bushes...it ain't gonna be God.
I'm in love with this world. Imagination has its limitations. Max Weber was brought here by a bunch of people who don't know art. They don't wanna know. Well, this guy doesn't like any of my paintings...he tosses all of them out. So someone down there told him he had better take one...that this Emerson Burkhart was a first class son of a bitch...and besides, Emerson Burkhart was a Columbus painter...so I think he took one...don't know which. But hell, the bastard just went along and said he'd take one Burkhart. I said he wasn't gonna take any Burkhart. I took 'em all back.
I just figured if he was gonna have a show of squiggles and daubs, then he was gonna have a room full of squiggles and daubs... but, gawddammit, he wasn't gonna have Emerson Burkhart.
I think I was madder than a son of a bitch at first. Then Don Weaver says to me... have your own show. Just as simple as that...wrote a column and said the best show was right here in this monstrosity...that's my word, not his. But I got fifteen rooms full of stuff and that's more than Max Weber ever saw in one place at one time by anyone man.
Weaver liked the fuss...the arguments...even the name- calling. He took some lofty position and said... it was good for art. Said it got more people interested in art. Weaver said every man up here can be his own art critic.
Well, I had 500 art critics that first night...and it's been growing every year. One year a bunch of school kids came up in a bus...just like they do at the Gallery. I had 'em all at once. One night the police had to come out and direct traffic off Broad street into here...another night it rained so I just kept the place going into the second night.
Never did know what happened to that art league thing...but I see a lot of bearded goofs coming to my house now.
Sometimes you'd think I was running a supermarket of art out here...I remember this one time this woman...she didn't know anything about art...better still, she didn't know anything about me. Someone told her she could get a painting for her living room wall. Hell, I hate these kind. I saw her coming up the walk with a sketch of her wall in her hand...I knew right then the price just doubled. She walked all through here. I think she picked out something that I wanted a hundred dollars for...I told her two hundred and she took it.
I've had people come through here with a swatch of drapery... or a slice of rug and hold it up all over the place to match it with a painting. Twenty years ago I would have thrown their asses out. One woman in this town came like this and found what she wanted in my bathroom...just the right color to go with her rug, she said. How much did I want for it? It was right up there in front of my pot...I told her it was the first thing I looked at in the morning and the last at night...that made it worth four times as much. I think she paid it.
Hell, you could give them a red Goya and they wouldn't buy it because they'd have a green rug.
SO BE IGNORANT
But my philosophy is that if people wanna be ignorant, let 'em. There was this bunch of people coming through the house one day...Ben Hayes was standing in the library with me...talking...right under my picture of Carl Sandburg.
This nice looking couple...the kind who look like they're married to one another...moved over to Ben and...one of them paused a minute looking up at Sandburg...then said to me: "When did you paint Robert Frost?"
Now this Ben Hayes is the Boy Scout type...he's gonna straighten her out right quick. But before he could open his mouth, I just said in my best funeral parlor voice: "Two days before he died."
She said to me..."Oh, weren't you fortunate." That was that...now that woman got more out of that painting than she ever will from another one.
I Just nodded my head and said THAT I WAS. After they moved on...Hayes mumbled to me...you ornery son of a bitch.
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