Charles Ephraim Burchfield (1893-1967)
Charles Ephraim Burchfield (1893-1967)
Charles Ephraim Burchfield (1893-1967)
Charles Ephraim Burchfield (1893-1967)
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Modern Icons: Property from an Important Private Collection

Country School House

Country School House
signed with initials in monogram and dated 'CEB/1948' (lower right)—dated again and inscribed with title (on the reverse)
watercolor on paper laid down on board
26 3⁄8 x 31 7⁄8 in. (66.9 x 80.9 cm.)
Executed in 1948.
The artist.
Sally Burchfield Ferris and Walter Ferris, daughter and son-in-law of the above, gift from the above.
Sotheby's, New York, 29 May 1986, lot 230 (as The Old School House [Old Church in Lockport, New York]).
Private collection, New York.
Christie's, New York, 18 May 2004, lot 95, sold by the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Drawing, vol. 8, 1986, p. 66 (as The Old School House [Old Church in Lockport, New York]).
Wilmington, Delaware, Delaware Art Museum, Charles Burchfield, November-December 1973 (as Old Church in Lockport, New York).
Post lot text
We would like to thank Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Scholar at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, for her assistance with cataloguing this lot.

Brought to you by

Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

According to Charles Burchfield's painting index, the present work depicts a schoolhouse north of the town of Akron, New York. The artist wrote in his journal entry on July 31, 1948, "To the country around Lake Ontario sketching... East on 354 to Three Rod Rd – on which north to its end, and the Alden Rd., thence to Alden & then first road north – I cannot remember how many turns I made, but on one of the northerly roads, I parked on an intersecting road under a tree. A delightful spot – A cornfield adjacent which rippled under a stiff cool S.W. wind, I felt free & exhilarated... Eventually I took a northerly road from Medina. I cannot remember whether it was before or after this that I went thru a very wild backwoods sort of country, there which the road round in an exotic fashion, the trees & bushes going right up to the road. Very mean and poverty-stricken houses. Once I considered the shell of an old log cabin as a subject but gave it up. Again at the Tonawanda Creek I considered some willows & a bridge as a subject, without acting on it. Eventually when I began to despair I suddenly came upon an old abandoned school house, a simple frame house with a primitive but interesting steeple on it. This I felt was my subject. I set up my easel under an elm; the wind was 'terrific,' I had to anchor my easel with an extra rope..." (C.E. Burchfield, Journals, vol. 49, July 31, 1948, p. 118, Burchfield Penney Art Center, The Charles E. Burchfield Archives)

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