Born 1920 in Jackson, Mississippi
Burford studied with Grant Wood at the University of Iowa, earning a B.F.A. in 1942 and a M.F.A. in 1947. Upon graduating he was appointed to the faculty and taught painting there until 1986, when he was named Professor Emeritus. As a teenager, his father allowed him to work one summer for Tom Mix's Circus and this sparked a life-long fascination with circus life. Burford joined a variety of regional circus troops every summer for decades after and frequently played drums in a gorilla suit. "I've never clowned. I have too much respect for that profession," observed the artist during a 1981 interview. "Clowning is very, very difficult. There's probably more amateur clowns than probably anything else." This reverence and understanding of the difficulties of circus life shine through in the lithograph printed between November 24 and December 1, 1978. Students William Gross, Barry Carlson, and Dan Devening assisted Burford with the printing of the edition under the supervision of master printer Richard Finch, the Director of Normal Editions, whose chop marks are located in lower right hand corner of the print. This image of the clown Lavelda appears in And the Lord Knows What, a book inspired by a W.B. Yeats poem that Burford illustrated and published at the Iowa Offset Workshop under the joint auspices of Chicago Books and the University of Iowa Center for the Book in 1988.

Homage To Lavelda
1978; color lithograph and hand coloring on Arches Cover; sheet: 26 x 22 (66.04 x 55.88); edition of 30