Artwork Share Tweet

 
Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Genesis, 1924; watercolor, 21 3/8 x 30 1/2 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of the Burchfield Foundation, 1975

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Genesis, 1924; watercolor, 21 3/8 x 30 1/2 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of the Burchfield Foundation, 1975

Genesis is a dark and stormy picture. A half-articulated figure emerges out of a sweeping bank of clouds that hang over a vast and complicated landscape. A distant volcano ejects smoke while in the foreground a solitary patch of green seems like the only safe and inviting place in the world. Recalling the work much later in life, Burchfield described his inspiration for the picture:

  (*The genesis picture idea goes back to 1923 or 1924, when we were living at 459 Franklin, Buffalo  - we had started our married life by reading from the Bible every day, beginning at Genesis and going through. The opening chapter of Genesis impressed me then (as it does even more now) with it (sic) simple grandeur. “And the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters”-)[1]


From the exhibition Charles E. Burchfiel: Oh My Heavens



[1] Burchfield, Journals, Volume 60B, August 7, 1962, pp. 336-7.