CHARLES BURCHFIELD, American (1893-1967), "January Sun," 1948/57, watercolor on joined two sheets of paper, 39 x 33 1/2 inches (sight)
Description:CHARLES BURCHFIELD American, (1893-1967)
"January Sun," 1948/57 watercolor on joined two sheets of paper
stamped with C. E. Burchfield Foundation stamp and numbered "62" lower left
Notes: We are grateful to Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Scholar, and Scott Propeack, Interim Director, of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York for their research. A research report compiled by Nancy Weekly accompanies this lot.
Charles Burchfield married in 1922 and moved to Buffalo, New York to work as a wallpaper designer. In his spare time, he continued, as before in his native Ohio, to paint the industrial landscape in his surroundings. Seven years later, with the help of New York City dealer Frank Rehn, Burchfield was finally able to devote himself full-time to his art. His fame spread and he became loosely associated with the Regionalist School of artists led by Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood. Although he shunned the association, his work shares a dedication to the American heartland as a well-spring of subjects and inspiration.1
Burchfield started painting the present lot,
January Sun, in the afternoon on January 21, 1948. In his journal he notes, "P.M. Sketch from the studio "porch"—shortly after I had started, the wind increased bringing snow with it. I protected myself by setting up a big box at the west end and tacking above it a large sheet of corrugated board. The snow became so thick and so clogged up my paint box that I had to stop—but not before I had hurriedly set down the main points. It made a fine composition of areas and angles." He continued writing on January 30th, "P.M. Painting from my south bedroom window of view towards Millers: the sun from the south projecting its powerful rays into the northern winter."
In January 1957, Burchfield returned to this composition. His journals from this time detail his artistic process. On January 17th he wrote, "Got out the "January Sun" (1948)…I planned to enlarge..." the next day's entry, "Mounted the ‘January Sun' to its new shape;" on February 18th "P.M. – Got to work on ‘January Sun'. Slow and difficult but it did go fairly well at last – but not finished –;" and finally on February 19th "A.M. Finished work on ‘January Sun.'"
Nearly a decade after beginning work on
January Sun, Burchfield returned to the composition working meticulously until he was satisfied with the finished result. His journals are a rare glimpse into his unique artistic process. Our thanks to Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Scholar, and Scott Propeack, Interim Director, of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York for providing the transcripts related to this painting.
1 "Charles Burchfield: Biography," Terra Foundation for American Art, https://collection.terraamericanart.org/view/people/asitem/items$0040null:157/0
Framed dimensions: 51 x 45 x 2 inches
Tags: works on paper, modern / contemporary, Regionalist / Regionalism, Buffalo, listed artist, 20th century
Provenance: Estate of the Artist; Frank K.M. Rehn Gallery, New York, New York, 1973; Private Collection, Connecticut.
Dimensions: 39 x 33 1/2 inches (sight)
Artist Name: CHARLES BURCHFIELD
Exhibited: New York, New York, Frank K.M. Rehn Gallery, "Charles Burchfield: Watercolors; Our Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition," October 1-20, 1973, cat. no. 10.
Medium: watercolor on joined two sheets of paper
Condition: Not examined out of frame, overall very good to excellent condition. Please contact us for additional information.
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