The Burchfield Penney's mission to inspire, invest in, and celebrate the historical and contemporary accomplishments of Western New York artists takes many forms beyond the work you see hanging on our walls. The Burchfield Penney Art Center Archives, located on the second floor of the museum, houses documents (many of them available online) that chronicle the personal and professional lives of Charles E. Burchfield and literally thousands of other artists who have had a significant connection to the region.
Individual artists seldom function in a vacuum, however, and thus we are also committed to documenting the cultural institutions and less formal artist communities that have been an essential part of Western New York throughout its history. We house the archives of several of these organizations, many of them long gone, as well as records that tell the story of our own museum.
All of these materials are available for use by scholars, students, and anyone who wants to know more about the women and men who have made Buffalo and the surrounding area such a magnet for creativity for the last century and a half.
The Center's Western New York Artists Archives includes records on more than 4,000 artists. The Living Legacy Project provides in-depth profiles of WNY artists from many disciplines and generations.
David Moog is making portraits of all the working artists in Western New York. Explore the portraits online.
The Burchfield Penney houses archives on many arts organizations in Western New York.
Burchfield's archives reveal his studied fascination with symbolism, which he used to capture the countless emotions, sounds and other invisible elements that spoke to his senses. As he wrote, "An artist must paint not what he sees in nature, but what is there."