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Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Nostalgia, 1917; conté crayon on paper, Overall: 10 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (26.7 x 11.4 cm) Frame: 19 1/4 x 16 1/4 in. (48.9 x 41.3 cm); Collector's Club Fund, 1996

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Nostalgia, 1917; conté crayon on paper, Overall: 10 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (26.7 x 11.4 cm) Frame: 19 1/4 x 16 1/4 in. (48.9 x 41.3 cm); Collector's Club Fund, 1996

Nostalgia is a study for Childhood’s Garden, a 1917 painting that evokes a poignant memory. In this fantasy world of skewed proportions, enormous flowers loom large in front of a tiny house buried among trees and bushes that pulsate with a loud insect chorus. Melancholy petunias join wincing Johnny-jump-ups to guard the path to a new home. The angelic woman in the drawing transforms into a lurking vine creature in the watercolor. The mood changes from bittersweet to sinister, just as a child might imagine when confronted by overwhelming, inexplicable events. Three years earlier Burchfield wrote: “And so do my impressions of childhood evade me. Of late there have been rare instances when childhood impressions would flash across my mind—it is not that I wish to go back, or mourn for the past. I only wish I might look at nature new as I did then, with a mind steeped in fairy tales and illusions.”

--Content by Nancy Weekly for "A Dream World of Imagination: Charles E. Burchfield's Golden Year"