American etcher and painter George Burr was born in 1859 in Monroe Falls, Ohio. He showed an early interest in art, creating his first etchings using the zinc scraps found in the spark pan under the kitchen stove. He then printed the plates on a press in the tin shop of his father’s hardware store. In 1878, Burr attended the Art Institute of Chicago, which was the only formal art training he would ever receive.
In 1895, Burr became an instructor for a local drawing class in Cameron, Missouri and three years later he was employed as an illustrator for Scribner’s, Harper’s and the Observer. During the same year he traveled to New York to work on assignment for the Observer and over the next several years, he worked and traveled widely as an illustrator contributing to periodicals, which included The Cosmopolitan and Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.
Burr began a four- year project in 1892 to illustrate a catalog for the Metropolitan Museum of Art of Herber R. Bishop’s jade collection. The financial gain from this project allowed him to travel abroad, to Europe from Sicily to North Wales. Upon return to the United States, he settled in New Jersey with his wife where he made a living selling his etchings and watercolors.
During the years that followed, Burr's watercolors were displayed in exhibitions and galleries along the east coast and as far west as Missouri. Burr and his wife moved to Denver, Colorado in 1906 where he completed “Mountain Moods”, a series of sixteen etchings. He became a member of the New York Society of Etchers and the Brooklyn Society of Etchers and later served as the president of the Phoenix Fine Arts Association.
Burr worked in a variety of mediums throughout his life producing approximately fifty oil paintings, over a thousand watercolors, two-thousand drawings and over twenty-five thousand etchings pulled from his own presses.