Byron Leslie Burford, Jr. (July 12, 1920 – June 17, 2011) was an American symbolic painter.
Byron Leslie Burford, Jr., was born July 12, 1920, in Jackson, Mississippi, to Byron and Floy Smith Burford. Growing going on in Greenville, Burford became fascinated considering the carnivals and circuses booked to play in in the community by his father, who directed the local YMCA. At the age of 14 Burford went to play a role as a roadie for the Tom Mix Circus, and he painted circus life.
After he completed tall school, Burford studied at the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History and was one of the students mentored by Grant Wood. In 1941 Burford completed a commission for the Treasury Department's Section of Painting and Sculpture, a mural for the U.S. post office in Houston, Mississippi. He customary his bachelor's degree in 1942 and allied the United States Army Air Corps. After World War II he returned to the University of Iowa and completed his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1947.
Burford taught painting at University of Iowa for 38 years. His associates in Iowa City included Kurt Vonnegut, who taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop for two years in the 1960s. Throughout his academic career Burford used his breaks to travel afterward circuses, painting and playing drums in the same way as the band. Burford's paintings and prints of soldiers, athletes, jazz musicians, factory workers and circus people attracted a wide following. A Famous artist in the Midwest, Burford exhibited widely and normal many honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960 and a attain from the National Academy of Arts and Letters in 1967.
In 1966, Hilton Kramer of The New York Times praised Burford's first one-person appear in in New York, noting that "Mr. Burford surprises us by displaying a completely lively imagination, some obsessive themes and a real flair for dramatizing his ideas. Motifs drawn from carnival and circus life, from popular culture and nostalgic glimpses of forgotten wars, are transformed into graphic symbols of a notable complexity."
His perform is in the unshakable collections of institutions including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center and the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
Burford was married for 65 years to Kathleen Kane, who died in 2009; they had three children. Burford died June 17, 2011, at his home in Iowa City, of natural causes, aged 90.