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Charles Burchfield

Lightning and Thunder at Night
1920
watercolor and charcoal
19 x 26 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Charles Rand Penney

Lightning and Thunder at Night captures the dramatic effects of noise and light accompanying a violent storm. Shrill claps and intense flashes of lightning pierce the night sky with fearsome resonance. This storm seems to have a sinister spirit of its own. Burchfield's creative process incorporated his dream life, with compositions such as this one recalling childhood fears and nightmares.