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Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Sunburst, 1929-31; oil on canvas, 35 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), Sunburst, 1929-31; oil on canvas, 35 1/2 x 47 1/2 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Charles Rand Penney, 1994

Weather Event Opens at New York State Museum in Albany

Friday, November 1, 2013

The New York State Museum will open a new exhibition, Weather Event, featuring the work of artist Charles E. Burchfield and his colorful depictions of the weather south of Lake Erie on November 2, 2013. Learn more at

On display in the West Gallery through February 23, 2014, the exhibition features over sixty works of art, including watercolors, sketches and Burchfield's journals. The exhibition was first organized by and presented at the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State.

"The Board of Regents and the State Museum are committed to partnering with institutions across the state to bring a wide range of cultural treasures to Albany," said State Museum Director Mark Schaming. "We are pleased to host this important exhibition from the Burchfield Penney Art Center. This is a unique opportunity to see this collection of Charles Burchfield's visionary work, as one of America's most revered artists of the twentieth century."

"Charles Burchfield (1893-1967) was an artist, writer, designer, and naturalist whose character was defined by his observation of the here, the now and the hereafter," said Anthony Bannon PhD, Executive Director of Burchfield Penney Art Center. "This exhibition, drawn from the 26,000 objects in the Burchfield archive at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, observes the artist's contemplative transcription of weather, the cycles of environment and atmosphere - and what it all meant to him. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share his vision with the thought leaders of our state."

Burchfield's representations of weather, wind, skies and sounds are unique historical records of the environment near Lake Erie, where he lived for most of his life. Burchfield Penney Curator and Manager of Archives, Tullis Johnson, worked with climatologist and Buffalo State College professor Stephen Vermette, Ph.D., to present the dramatic and complex natural phenomenon chronicled in more than 50 years of Burchfield's writings, drawings and paintings.

Dr. Vermette also worked with students from Buffalo State College to recreate historical weather forecasts for the days that many of Burchfield's early watercolors where made. These forecasts are accessible in the exhibit through the use of smart phone technology.

Burchfield's early works were imaginative, stylized landscapes and rural scenes that often incorporated a personal language of symbols. After moving to Buffalo from Ohio, he became engrossed in the city's buildings, harbor, rail yards and surrounding countryside. From this period, his works show an appreciation for American life and a complex assessment of urban life in comparison to the countryside and small town of his youth.

Burchfield's artistic achievement was honored by the inauguration of the Charles Burchfield Center at Buffalo State College on December 9, 1966. He died on January 11, 1967. The museum, now called the Burchfield Penney Art Center, holds the world's largest collection of his work.

Photos from the exhibit are available at:

The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department's Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is free. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at