SOLD Sunflowers in Sunlight

by Charles Burchfield (1893–1967)
Watercolor and pencil on paper
19⅝ x 13¾ inches (sight size)
Estate stamp lower right


Kennedy Galleries, Inc., New York, New York

Mo Ostin, acquired from above, 1996

Sale, Sotheby’s, New York, New York, May 19, 2023, lot 631, from above


Kennedy Galleries, New York, New York, Charles E. Burchfield, Discoveries: Early Watercolors, Spring 1996


Charles E. Burchfield, Discoveries: Early Watercolors (New York: Kennedy Galleries, 1996), n.p., no. 13.

Related Works

Rogues’ Gallery, 1916, watercolor and pencil on paper, 13⅞ x 19⅞ inches; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

Sunflowers and Red Barn, ca. 1942, screenprint, 17¾ x 23 3/16 inches, signed lower left; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Sunflower in Backyard, 1949, watercolor on paper, 31½ x 26 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State, New York

Dancing Sunflowers, 1950, watercolor, 29⅛ x 29½ inches; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Note: Sunflowers became a repeat motif for Charles Burchfield. Throughout his career the artist depicted the recognizable flower in various states of decay and bloom, often juxtaposing them against objects of modernity like the telephone poles in this work. The artist referenced sunflowers numerous times in his journals, in 1916 writing, “Idea—To see objects grouped in odd shaped masses, as part of a sunflower & part of a tree may become one—Or where several plants (as sunflowers) are grouped together, the flower the leaves & the stems unite in masses, one shadow & one sunlight.”[1]

Mo Ostin was a legendary record executive who worked with such artists as Prince and Neil Young. Throughout his life, Ostin also assembled an impressive collection of art.

[1] J. Benjamin Townsend, ed., Charles Burchfield’s Journals: The Poetry of Place (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), 447.

Artist Biography

Watercolorist with Romantic Realist Vision of American Life

By Amy Spencer

Best known for his romantic watercolors, Burchfield developed a unique style, swinging between realism and fantasy, to express his profound respect for the American landscape.

I. Biography
II. Chronology
III. Collections
IV. Exhibitions
V. Memberships
VI. Notes
VII. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

Charles Ephraim Burchfield is celebrated for his visionary paintings of the American

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