Lot 1
  • 1

Charles Burchfield 1893 - 1967

250,000 - 350,000 USD
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  • Charles Burchfield
  • House Abandoned to the Insects
  • Signed with the artist's monogrammed initials CEB and dated 1957 (lower right); also titled and dated "House Abandoned to the Insects"/11 x 17/(1957) on the reverse
  • Watercolor on paper
  • 11 by 17 1/4 inches
  • (27.9 by 43.8 cm)


Frank K.M. Rehn Galleries, New York
Mr. & Mrs. Morris W. Primoff, New York (and sold: Sotheby's, New York, December 4, 1986, lot 281, illustrated)
Acquired at the above sale by A. Alfred Taubman


Joseph S. Trovato, Charles Burchfield: Catalogue of Paintings in Public and Private Collections, Utica, New York, 1970, no. 1155, p. 268

Catalogue Note

In a note dated Feb. 25, 1962, Charles Burchfield writes of House Abandoned to the Insects, "A deserted house in the 'back' country in late August or early September. Long neglected and suffering from the attacks of all sorts of weather, the house is slowly disintegrating, and half hidden by tall weeds, summer flowers such as asters and goldenrod; trees and other undergrowth, seems to be slowly sinking into the ground.

In a word, it has become a part of nature a home for insects of all sorts. They seem to be everywhere; black crickets, katy-dids, grasshoppers, tree crickets, spiders, and cicadas; (one spider has found the open doorway a convenient spot to set her trap). From everywhere, from the trees, the grasses and weeds the evening songs are going full strength, blending into a chorus that fills the atmosphere, and 'colors' the character of the house.

One gaping window suggests that perhaps an owl is using the empty house as a retreat.

It should be noted that the end of the house, in full evening sunlight is more or less realistic, while it is only in the shadow side, that grotesque fantasy takes over."