Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Fireflies and Lightning, 1964-65; watercolor, graphite and white charcoal, 40 x 54 inches; Purchase made possible with funds from M&T Bank, an anonymous donor, William P. and A. Laura Brosnahan, the Vogt Family Foundation and the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, 1998
Recent Works by Charles E. Burchfield
On View Friday, December 9, 1966–Friday, January 27, 1967
The Dedication of The Charles Burchfield Center in Rockwell Hall of the State University College at Buffalo also took place on December 9, 1966.
The following was written about the opening of The Charles Burchfield Center in 1966:
"The Charles Burchfield Center, a gallery devoted to the exhibition of major works and memorabilia of Westen New York's world-famous watercolorists occupies the former Library of the Buffalo State University College in Rockwell Hall. The Center will feature continuous exhibits of significant works by the artist, including paintings and skeches as well as his journals and writings, together with publications concerning him and comprehensive phtographice records of his work. The current plan is to hold and a number of special exhibits every year, each organized about a particular period of the artist's work a special theme or specific collections lent by a private owners or instttutions. In the periods between the special exhibits, work from the permanent collections in the Center will be featured, supplemented by loans from other sources. Items in the permanent collection will be available for veiwing and study at all times.
The legal owner of the Center's permanent collection will be the Buffalo State College Alumni Foundations, Inc., a non-profit , tax-exempt organization. The nucleus of the Foundation Collection was a gift of the large painting "December Storm,' presented by Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Andrews pf Buffalo in 1964. Full-color reproduction of this exleceent painting are available for purchase in the Center and elsewhere. It is hoped that the Foundation Collecion will be increased by gifts and bequests, so that many of the major works of Charels Burchfield will be made accesible for viewing and study by the artist's home community. Possiblities for adding to the collection may be discussed with the Curator of the Center or with Attorney Donald L. Volts, Chairman of the Board of Trustess, Buffalo State College Alumni Foundation, Inc., Walbridge Building, Buffalo."
"The work of any creative artist is generally divided into three periods, viz.: early, midddle, and late as his art develops or changes. That has been the case in my career, that is, until recently. There is now talk among a few commentators and conoisseurs of a "Fouth Period,'' by which is meant the emergence if semi- or almost complete abstraction not to be confused with the "school" which has appropriated the name.
It is rather tha conventionalization of nature moods, or formations, into abstract forms or motifs. It was born of conscious aim, which extisted throughout my career, to reduce painitng to its simplist form, trying always to eliminate nonessentials (realistic embrodideries) so as to reduce painting to its simplest, even stark terms without losing the basic idea or reality. If this is done successfully, a realsim emerges more genuine than the thing itself.
In my recnt work, this tendancy has indeed become uppermost, perhaps enough so as to create the illusion of a "Fourth Period. To me, however, it is the approach to a climax, befroe mentioned, of the aim that has persisted throughout the years , even in 1916, when I first attempted to paint lightning flashes. The idea of dividng creative work into "periods" does not particularly appeal to me; I do not like to be imprisoned in the idea of adhering to the style of any perios. In fact, the artist is, I believe, rarely conccious of transitions from one period to another; they become apparent only in retrospection."