Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Summer Solstice (In Memory of the American Chestnut Tree), 1961-66; watercolor on paper, 54 x 60 inches; Image from the Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives
Charles Burchfield, Journals, June 12, 1961
Thursday, June 5, 2014
In "The Tree-book" (Julia Rogers). On the chestnut she tells of a "famous giant" (chestnut) at the foot of Mt. Aetna—the "chestnut of a Hundred Horsemen" (because it sheltered then all at one time) had a diameter of over 60 feet, and lived to be 2000 yaers old—Though hollow and with its shell in five parts when measured, records showed that a century before it had been a continuous cylinder. Each year these decaying stems wore a crown of green until an eruption of the volcano destroyed the tree.
It is almost impossible to conceive of such a glorious plant—The longing to see such a phenomenon makes me almost sick with frustration—
I am planning to work on my Memorial to the Chestnut Tree.
Charles Burchfield, June 12, 1961