Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Drive-way in Winter, 1946; watercolor on paper, 29 x 25 inches; Purchased with support from Monica Angle & Sam Magavern, James & Joy Brandys, Gary & Willow Brost, Margaret & Paul Candino, Joan & Gary Crosby, James & Maryruth Glogowski, Carol & John Kociela, Steve Lakomy & Cheryl Lyles, Gina & Erik O'Neil, Paula & John Reinhold, Janet & Richard Wetter, and Wayne & Janet Wisbaum. Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives.
Charles E. Burchfield documented this watercolor in his Painting Index as a view from his yard in Gardenville, looking down his driveway toward Clinton Street. It focuses on various textures, such as the side door lattice, the neighbor’s vine-covered stone building, and feathery, leafless limbs of dormant trees. A quote from Burchfield’s journals dated February 4, 1946 might describe the brisk quality of the scene he depicted: “A fine sunlit morning after the ‘zero’ night is a feeling of March in the watery light on trees & houses.” After World War II, Burchfield created many paintings of his residence from a different vantage points in appreciation of subtle seasonal changes in the landscape in relation to the concept of home as refuge. His palette remained true to nature; hence the monochromatic tones in winter which actually exhibits a wide range of grays and browns. Undulating negative space between tree branches and dark windows staring at the Burchfield home lend a slightly animated—and ominous—quality to the scene. —NW