Walter A. Prochownik
(1923 - 2000)
Walter A. Prochownik was an internationally recognized painter from Buffalo, New York. Prochownik was born in Buffalo in 1923, while is family was on a short trip. Shortly thereafter, the family returned to the Bielsko area of Southern Poland, where the artist spent 17 years. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, Prochownik returned to Buffalo and in 1943 joined the U.S. Army to serve the remaining years of World War II. In his post-war years, he went to art school. He studied at the Buffalo Art Institute which was supported by the Works Progress Administration and also at the Art Students League of New York, in New York City.
Prochownik painted in an abstract but familiar style. His figurative and landscape paintings are recognizable but complicated. It was this dualism in his work that made him the best candidate to create a mural at the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo in 1974. Entitled “You the People”, the piece welcomes viewers in the lobby. The following year, the Buffalo Evening News awarded him as an Outstanding Citizen. Other than this mural, Prochownik exhibited as both a solo artist and in group shows throughout his career in Buffalo and was featured in exhibits on the national level. Not only was he a locally respected artist but a framer and teacher as well. Teaching at the University at Buffalo, Millard Fillmore College and Empire State College, Prochownik was able to spread his knowledge and passion for painting to many others over his career, which spanned over 3 decades.
His works can be found in collections throughout the country including the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Minnesota Museum of Arts, Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences and the San Antonio Museum of Art.