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Adding context to the artwork
The Burchfield Penney Art Center maintains and builds on an existing collection of artist files for over 2,700 Western New York artists and institutions, both past and present. Of these records, our most expansive content is focused on the artists in our permanent collection. This information includes letters, slides, clippings, other ephemera, and biographical information, and has been assembled through the direct donation of objects and information from family members and collectors.

The most significant of these holdings are the archives of Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), including journals, sketchbooks and many personal artifacts. Other notable artist archives include:

  • Files on the films and installations of Paul Sharits (1943-1993)
  • Archives on the work of photo-documentarian Milton Rogovin (1909-2010), with notes and representations of all his exhibitions plus multiple video and audio interviews
  • An indexed archive of over 15 boxes of material (including photos, letters and awards) related to painter Martha Visser't Hooft (1906-1994)
  • Archival photographs and documentation on all of the works by the artist Charles Cary Rumsey (1879-1922), including site images of works in the Harriman estate (40 of Rumsey's sculptures are in our collection).

How to access the Archives

The Burchfield Penney Art Center holds vast archives including tens of thousands of clippings, journals, sketches, recordings and other materials. There are numerous ways to access our archival material, including viewing it in the Collection Study Gallery and the Study Center, or requesting assistance from our professional researchers.   

Research Requests Policy and Procedure

The Burchfield Penney Art Center will conduct research, when possible, regarding artists and arts organizations of Western New York. After an initial review of our archival holdings, to ascertain the extent of material available, we will make a recommendation regarding what research is possible. After the initial review, the cost for research is $200 per hour, or free for members at the Burchfield Circle ($1,000) level and above level. To inquire about a Western New York related arts topic, please send an email Tullis Johnson.

Archives Access Policy

The Archives at the Burchfield Penney Art Center contains significant (and in some cases, the most comprehensive) records on the arts and artists of Western New York. Public access is during weekday hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment only. Please email Tullis Johnson to schedule an appointment. Although the Archives is open to the public, preferential treatment is given to our membership when scheduling time in the Archives.