Burchfield-Penney Art Center

Rockwell Hall, Buffalo State College

Buffalo, NY




Burchfield-Penney Art Center Receives 62 Volumes of Charles E. Burchfield's Journals


The Charles E. Burchfield Foundation has made an extraordinary donation to the Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College of 62 volumes of Charles E. Burchfield's journals.

The journals contain an exceptional amount of documentary material about the celebrated watercolorist's life, interests, painting, business, dreams, weather and nature observations, and personal anecdotes. They chronicle the artist's day to day life from 1910 through 1964.

Several volumes of the journals will be on view October 7, 2000, through March 25, 2001. In addition to the journals, Burchfield's Journals will include examples of the artist's paintings. The exhibition will trace the artist's literary and documentary talents, as well as his aesthetic mastery. The exhibition will open with a members reception on Saturday, October 7, from 6 to 8 p.m.

The 62 seminal works that the Center just received had been on loan to the Center's Archives for more than thirty years. Other volumes had been donated to the Center in the past. The Center received eight volumes from the artist in 1966 and from the artist's son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. C. Arthur Burchfield, in 1991. Also, Mrs. John Albarella and Miss Joan Albarella, who lived next door to the artist and his family in Gardenville, New York, placed a small 1916 volume on extended loan in 1972.

Few people have been able to use Burchfield's autograph journals because the aging paper is very fragile. To make these immensely interesting journals more accessible to the public, J. Benjamin Townsend worked with the Burchfield-Penney Art Center from 1974 until 1993 on producing an edited, annotated version that presented the material thematically. Charles Burchfield's Journals: The Poetry of Place was published by the State University of New York Press in 1993 to celebrate the centennial of Burchfield's birth. The 737-page book explores the significance of the places where Burchfield lived (Salem, Ohio, and Buffalo and Gardenville, New York); his philosophical and spiritual evolution; his relationship to nature as a naturalist, romantic, and transcendental painter; his professional life; and his interest in music, art, literature, science, world events, and social issues. The book has become a major reference tool for academic and curatorial scholars nationwide. Dr. Townsend's publication has been a significant contribution to the field - the journals in their entirety are comprised of approximately 10,000 pages, an extraordinary amount of data to research.

Several important projects have been planned in conjunction with the formal presentation of Burchfield's journals to the Center. With a grant provided by the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation, the Center has embarked on digital scanning of all 72 journals to prepare for future presentations that may include CD-ROM production and/or data available via the Internet. The Center is also pursuing conservation grants for the assessment and eventual treatment necessary to preserve the original documents.

Read more about the Burchfield - Penney Art Center in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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