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Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), The Evening Star, 1923-26; oil on board, 21 x 27 7/8 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), The Evening Star, 1923-26; oil on board, 21 x 27 7/8 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994

One of Burchfield’s rare oil paintings is The Evening Star (1923-26). The lone star up in the sky is most likely the planet Venus, the second planet from the Sun. Its name comes from the Roman goddess of love and beauty. In the foreground a doe and her fawn are drinking from a pool. On the left a male buck can barely be discerned in the impending darkness.

The Evening Star was started in 1923, the same year that Burchfield and his wife Bertha had their first child, Mary Alice. Perhaps this small family of deer is meant to represent his growing family. In 1924 their second child Martha Elizabeth was born. Sarah Ruth (b. 1925) and Catherine Esther (b. 1926) would follow in the next two years. By the time the painting was finished in 1926, only Charles Arthur (b. 1929), the couple’s only son was yet to be born.

- From the exhibition Charles E. Burchfield: Oh My Heavens