American, 1893-1967

"Nighthawks and the Moon", (1965) 1966

watercolor on paper
initialed and dated lower left "CB (1965) 1966"
34 3/4 x 26 1/8 inches (sight)

  • Provenance: The artist; Frank Rehn Gallery, New York, New York; Herbert A. Goldstone Collection; ACA Galleries, New York, New York; A Connecticut estate.
  • Exhibited: New York, New York, ACA Galleries, "2nd Annual Art on Paper, Drawings - Pastels - Watercolors by distinguished Contemporary and early 20th Century American Artists", December 2, 1969 - January 3, 1970.
  • Literature: Joseph Trovato, "Charles Burchfield: Catalogue of Paintings in Public and Private Collections," (Utica, New York: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1970), no. 1326, p. 315 (illustrated).; "Nighthawks and the Moon", in "Art in America", 55 (May 1967): 96.; Colleen L. Makowski, "Charles Burchfield: An Annotated Bibliography", (London: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1996), "Periodical Articles 1160", p. 160.

    Other notes: A copy of the record and purchase receipt from ACA Galleries accompanies this lot.

    We are grateful to Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Scholar, at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York for her assistance cataloging this lot. A research report compiled by Nancy Weekly accompanies this lot.

    Framed dimensions: 47 3/4 x38 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches

    "The work of Charles Burchfield is most decidedly founded, not on art, but on life, and the life he knows and loves best."[1] -Edward Hopper

    In 1956 the Whitney Museum of American Art organized a comprehensive retrospective of Burchfield's work, "Charles Burchfield." The exhibition toured at six venues across the United States. With the success following this show, Burchfield was free from financial burdens that had plagued him during much of his life. He was able to create dynamic and free form watercolors again drawing from his childhood memories.

    In a review of a 1966 Burchfield exhibition at the Frank K.M. Rehn Gallery critic John Canaday wrote, "Mr. Burchfield was born in 1893; he has been painting for 50 years; he has had an upper-bracket American reputation for close to 40 years, and 10 years ago he was given a retrospective at the Whitney Museum as a windup. The surprise is that the new exhibition of 16 large water-colors, completed within the last five years, must surely be the freshest, most attractive Burchfield show yet." [2]

    Canaday continues, "He has not greatly changed or enlarged the manner in which he has been painting since the mid-nineteen-forties, (...), but he has never painted with a surer touch or a more delicate one. He has never caught us up more effectively into his poetic vision of sunlight (or moonlight), skies, wind and flowers (or winter trees)."

    Nighthawks and the Moon is wholly representative of Canaday's impressions at the Rehn show. In this composition, a masterwork by the artist, Burchfield absorbs the viewer in his reality of nature. The composition vibrates with the sound of rustling leaves, birds and wind. In the sky, the moon is full of life casting a silver glow over the whole scene.

    Burchfield died in 1967 in West Seneca, New York. After his death President Lyndon B. Johnson memorialized him saying "During a period of great urbanization and industrialization, he focused our vision on the eternal greatness of living things. He was an artist to America."

    [1] Edward Hopper, Arts Magazine, July 1928.
    [2] John Canaday, "Art: A Poet's Celebration of Nature," in The New York Times, (October 8, 1966).

    Tags: works on paper, modern / contemporary, Regionalist / Regionalism, Buffalo, listed artist, 20th century
  • Condition: in overall excellent condition; not examined out of the frame; additional photos available upon request

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