Charles Burchfield painting October Wind and Sunlight in the Woods, 1963
A Resource for Artists and Scholars
The International Center for Watercolor is an initiative built upon the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s dedication to the medium of watercolor. The Center features a most comprehensive resource for watercolor study and service.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center is the center for the American watercolor master Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967). The museum has the largest public collection of his art and the most comprehensive archives containing more than 25,000 paintings, drawings, studies, prints, wallpaper designs, doodles, notes, journals, correspondence, and documentation about his artistic process and career.
Burchfield had close working relationships with teachers and contemporaries wherever he lived; the museum collects their work to provide historical context. His earliest group was affiliated with Cleveland School of Art, which Burchfield attended from 1912 to 1916. Friendships developed, leading to sketching trips and painting excursions in the farther-reaching Ohio countryside. These artists include August F. Biehle, Jr., Marsden Hartley, Henry G. Keller, William Sommer, Paul B. Travis, and Frank N. Wilcox.
The Frank K. M. Rehn Galleries in New York represented Burchfield from 1929 until years after his death. Among his Rehn colleagues represented in the Center’s collection are Edward Hopper, Reginald Marsh, John Carroll, Peppino Mangravite, Eugene Speicher, and Virginia Cuthbert. In addition, between 1949 and 1953, Burchfield taught courses at the Art Institute of Buffalo; Ohio University in Athens, Ohio; the University of Buffalo; University of Minnesota in Duluth, Minnesota; and the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.
Anchored by its Burchfield collections, the Center has become an international focus for the appreciation and study of watercolor. It is located on the Buffalo State campus whose resources include archival holdings and related reference collections in E. H. Butler Library and the Art Conservation Department. These collections are accessible for the public to investigate the history, artists, theory, materials, and practice of watercolor. Scholars are invited to use the museum’s resources for their research, and fellowships are available for both scholars and students.
An installation at The Center features a re-creation of Charles E. Burchfield’s Gardenville Studio, designed with original materials and artifacts to the artist’s working environment and organization in his last years. Patterning the studio walls are plywood shelves where thousands of studies were stored. Inspirational objects are on view including his stuffed snowy owl, crow and variants of birch bark. Central is Burchfield’s upright easel upon which he built up layers of watercolor more like an oil painter. His unique altered brushes trimmed and singed at the brush tips are displayed as well.
The Burchfield Penney hosts watercolor workshops, a lecture series, and demonstrations by renowned regional and national artists, educators, and critics to develop the scope of this important and popular medium. Demonstrations are documented with a range of artists enhancing the watercolor media in unique ways. For example the critic and artist Richard Huntington former artistic director of Artpark, reveals in a broad cast tape his bold process painting, while Monica Angle, whose work is in collections nationwide, demonstrates the fluidity of her process using printmaking techniques combined with layering watercolor paints in forth coming web videos.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center invites watercolor enthusiasts to contribute to the social space to enjoy conversations on the media of watercolor, such as blogs on topics including special techniques and materials, favorite places to paint, and the use of watercolor as a sketch or in fashion illustration. The Center welcomes reviews that highlight watercolor exhibitions in varies communities and news from watercolor societies around the world.
Contact Kathy Shiroki for further information on The International Center for Watercolor at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-878-3549.
Ellen Steinfeld is a Western New York artist who works in many different mediums. She is well known for her paintings, watercolors, and wall relief.