Charles Ephraim Burchfield (1893-1967)
The Little White Bird
signed 'C. Burchfield' (lower right)
gouache and pencil on paper
14 x 2212 in. (35.6 x 57.2 cm.)
Executed circa 1915-16.
Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts, LLC, New York.
Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2012.
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Lot Essay

We would like to thank Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Scholar at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, for her assistance with cataloguing this lot.

J.M. Barrie’s fantasy novel The Little White Bird, or Adventures in Kensington Gardens, was published in England and the United States in November 1902 after having previously been released in serial format in Scribner’s Magazine. In 1906, chapters 13-18 of The Little White Bird were published as a children's book under the title Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham, an illustrator that Burchfield particularly liked during his Cleveland School of Art years studying design and illustration. The present painting was most likely completed as a class assignment to design the cover of this popular book around 1915-16. The artist devised a charming and amusing depiction of fireflies, one of his favorite insects, as carriers of tiny lanterns—contributing to the air of fantasy associated with the book’s narrative.

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