Charles Burchfield

An April Mood

Not on view



Watercolor and fabricated chalk on paper, mounted on board

Sheet: 40 × 54in. (101.6 × 137.2 cm) Mount (board): 40 × 54 × 1/8in. (101.6 × 137.2 × 0.3 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with partial funds from Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence A. Fleischman

Rights and reproductions
Reproduced with permission from the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation and the Burchfield Penney Art Center.


Charles Burchfield captured the effects of seasonal changes of the landscape near his home outside of Buffalo, New York—phenomena that he also registered in his diaries. Though wild flowers and yellow-tipped vegetation are beginning to emerge from the winter-deadened earth, the overhanging clouds portend the delay of spring. Burchfield thought of An April Mood as portraying a struggle between the end of winter and the beginning of spring, in which the sky formed an “April frown.” In his journal he described the watercolor as "A sketch of the sky & old maple trees on edge of the woods. The mood I aimed at was the anger of God--a good Friday mood." His religious theme is implied by the groups of three clustered trees in the foreground and background, which serve as symbols of the three crosses present at the crucifixion.