Orion and the Moon is an extraordinary work from 1917, what Burchfield called his Golden Year. The painting contains a simple house dwarfed by a cloudy, silver expanse of sky. A crescent moon and Orion are situated next to a mass of densely planted trees. The constellation also appears in later masterworks such as December Moonrise (1959), Orion in December (1959) and Orion in Winter (1962), but Orion and the Moon was the first major work to celebrate the constellation. All four works were only shown together on one occasion, during the Burchfield International Exhibition, held at the Charles Burchfield Center from October 21, 1968 - February 16, 1969.

Charles E. Burchfield: Oh My Heavens is on view from April 12-August 4, 2013 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Learn more at http://www.burchfieldpenney.org/exhibitions/exhibition:04-12-2013-07-28-2013-charles-e-burchfield-oh-my-heavens/

Images (top to bottom)

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Orion and the Moon, 1917; Watercolor, charcoal, colored pencil, and gouache on joined paper, mounted on board, 23 1/2 x 35 inches, Signed and dated lower right, Chas Burchfield, 1917; Private Collection

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), December Moonrise, 1959; watercolor on paper, 30 x 36 inches; The Phillips Collection, Gift of B. J. and Carol Cutler, 2009

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Orion in Winter, 1962; watercolor on paper, 48 x 54 inches; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid


Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Orion in December, 1959; watercolor and pencil on paper, 39 7/8 x 32 7/8 inches; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.