Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967) and Julius J. Lankes (1884-1960), Nightfall, 1924; wood engraving, #14 from an edition of 18, carved & printed by J.J. Lankes, 6 5/16 x 9 5/8 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994
Many of the wood engravings that were drawn by Burchfield on wood blocks and carved and printed by J. J. Lankes resonate like American folk ballads. In Nightfall Burchfield champions the pioneer spirit he so admired while acknowledging the harshness and weariness many faced. Such a shadowy world lit only by the last glimmers of light along the horizon invites speculation about the lone rider’s voyage into night.
In his Index of Etchings - Woodcuts - Lithographs) and Drawings (1915-1953), Burchfield wrote that the composition “grew out of ‘November Evening’ #1,” his 1920 oil tempera painting (later titled Late Afternoon Twilight), which itself was inspired by Antonín Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 9, From the New World.” Another related work is the opaque watercolor November Evening (1923).