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
CHARLES EPHRAIM BURCHFIELD (1893-1967)

Glowering Trees at Twilight

Details
CHARLES EPHRAIM BURCHFIELD (1893-1967)
Glowering Trees at Twilight
signed with initials in monogram and dated 'CEB/1960' (lower left)
watercolor, crayon and pencil on paper
13 x 19 3⁄8 in. (33 x 49.2 cm.)
Executed in 1960.
Provenance
Mr. and Mrs. Morton Sosland, Shawnee Mission, Kansas, by 1970.
Sotheby's, New York, 1 December 2004, lot 224, sold by the above.
Acquired by the present owner from the above.
Literature
J.S. Trovato, Charles Burchfield: Catalogue of Paintings in Public and Private Collections, Utica, New York, 1970, p. 282, no. 1211.
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.

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Tylee Abbott
Tylee Abbott Vice President, Head of American Art

Lot Essay

Searching for subject matter in Western New York, Charles Burchfield wrote in his journal on September 9, 1960, "I had intended painting, and even had put all my gear into the trunk—but I had in mind a sunny day and it was cloudy—So I just made drawings—a wonderfully soft moist wind out of the south. Again we were 'carried away' by the beauty of September Fields." (C.E. Burchfield, Journals, vol. 59, September 9, 1960, pp. 183-84, Burchfield Penney Art Center, The Charles E. Burchfield Archives) The present work may be an expansion of a drawing executed on this day, as evidenced by the autumnal glow and exaggerated spider webs in the distance signaling the end of summer.

As opposed to his more observational works from his earlier years, the artist's later works such as Glowering Trees at Twilight take on a psychological quality in which trees, plants or buildings appear to reverberate with supernatural energy. In the present work, echoing black lines suggest the vibration of sound, while dashes of electric yellow intensify the sense of life pulsating through the scene. As the title suggests, the trees seem to be communicating something urgent, perhaps rattled by the disturbance of the artist's presence at the tender twilight hour.
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