Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Sun Behind Cloud, July 5, 1916, watercolor with graphite on paper, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Tony Sisti, 1979.

Exhibition Features Burchfield's Interest in Celestial Influences


Depictions of the sun, moon, and constellations by artist Charles Burchfield, alongside solar astrophotography by Alan Friedman taken from Buffalo, are on display in the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s newest exhibition, Total Solar Eclipse & Astral Visions: Works by Charles E. Burchfield & Alan Friedmanopening Friday, February 9. 

Curated by Burchfield scholar Nancy Weekly with assistance from manager of exhibitions Tullis Johnson, the show is part of a series of astronomy-themed exhibitions and programs mounted by the Burchfield Penney in partnership with the Buffalo State Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium to herald the Great North American Solar Eclipse on April 8.

“Burchfield also drew inspiration [from astral influences],” Weekly said, “writing, ‘I will never travel to outer space, but I have in a measure brought the stars and constellations to me. To me, they are not remote or forbidding, but something to love.’ This exhibition provides a glimpse into our universal fascination.”

“I love how Charles Burchfield captured the sun, moon, planets, and constellations in some of his works,” said Kevin Williams, Buffalo State University associate professor of geosciences and planetarium director. “As an artist, he observed the world around him with the same detail as scientists and interpreted those observations into works of art. This exhibition is an excellent example of how the celestial spectacle of a total solar eclipse connects to all areas and interests.”

The public is invited to celebrate the opening of Total Solar Eclipse & Astral Visions as part of M&T Second Friday February 9 from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. This free event will feature live music by Sally Schafer and Tyler Bagwell, and an all-ages Valentine art activity. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, June 30.

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Buffalo State will also host a series of eclipse-related programming leading up to its signature Eclipse Fest on Monday, April 8, at Coyer Field.

Hear Fred “Mr. Eclipse” Espenak deliver the 2024 Dr. Jack Mack Lecture in Astronomy and Planetary Science on Thursday, February 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall. Espenak is a retired astrophysicist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where he published over a dozen books on solar eclipses. He is well known for his eclipse photography. His image of the 2006 eclipse was featured on the U.S. Postal Service’s forever stamp commemorating the 2017 solar eclipse across the United States. 

Join your favorite breweries from across the region for the Eclipse & Sips Beer-Tasting Event from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, March 8, in the Science and Mathematics Complex atrium. Enjoy eclipse-themed treats, activities, planetarium shows, and some great eclipse-themed merchandise.

More information about these and other eclipse-related events on campus can be found on the Buffalo State Total Solar Eclipse website

Photo: Charles E. Burchfield, Sun Behind Cloud
July 5, 1916
Watercolor with graphite on paper
14 x 20 inches