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Walter R. Garver

Walter R. Garver

b. 1927

Walter Garver is part of the Living Legacy Project at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Click here to listen to his artist interview. 



Walter Garver is a realist painter who incorporates surrealist and abstractionist principles to illuminate Buffalo’s urban landscapes and city scenes; these scenes oftentimes include decayed buildings, old windows and doors, and shadowy figures in passages which “are not vital and filled with life, but dark and foreboding and signal deeper alienation and further destruction.”

Garver was born on August 29, 1927, in Medina, NY. He studied under Charles Burchfield in 1950 and graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BFA in 1955. In 1958 he began teaching art at Amherst Senior High School in Snyder, NY. He also taught art history, drawing, painting, photography, and was appointed chairman of the school’s Art Department. He taught at Amherst Senior High School until his retirement in 1985.

Upon his retirement, Garver worked as a contributing editor for Artist’s Magazine and Watercolor Magic Magazine. He has exhibited extensively throughout his career and received numerous honors for his work. He’s had one man shows at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Chautauqua Art Gallery, Hall of Art in New York City and the More-Rubin Gallery in Buffalo. His works have also been included in group shows with the Buffalo Society of Artists, winning the Gold Medal in 1967 and 1971, the Cooperstown Art Association, winning the Grand Prize in 1973 and 1975 and the Allied Artists Annual Exhibition, winning the Gilmore and Romans Memorial Award in 1994, among several others.

Garver’s professional memberships include the Allied Artists of America, Audubon Artists, Buffalo Society of Artists, Copley Society of Boston and the National Watercolor Society. His paintings are in the collections of the Arnot Museum in Elmira, NY, the Butler Institute in Youngstown, OH, the Minnesota Museum and the Burchfield Penney Art Center.