Town of West Seneca Dedicates Atrium to Martha Burchfield Richter
West Seneca, NY – Martha Burchfield Richter (1924-1977) was a noted American Watercolorist and daughter of the internationally renowned artist Charles E. Burchfield. She grew up in West Seneca on Clinton Street across from Island Park with her siblings. In 1999, the 29-acre park became the Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center (BNAC) in honor of her father.
On February 14, 2022, Town Supervisor Gary Dickson and Councilmembers Robert Breidenstein, Joseph Cantafio, Susan Kims, and Jeffrey Piekarec of the Town of West Seneca passed a resolution to dedicate the Atrium located in the West Seneca Community Center & Library (1300 Union Road) in Martha’s honor. On February 22nd, the Town of West Seneca hosted a celebratory dedication for Peggy Richter, Martha’s daughter and Charles’ Burchfield’s granddaughter, who came to visit West Seneca from Washington State.
From now until March 17th, Martha’s artwork will be on display until another scheduled show begins on March 18th. The Town of West Seneca invites the WNY Community and beyond to visit the Community Center & Library during open hours to see the artwork (and stop by Spot Coffee, Chamber of Commerce and the Library too).
Like her father, Martha had an affinity for flowering plants, trees and landscapes. She painted almost exclusively with watercolors, favored en plein air (outdoor) painting, and is known for her depictions of nature throughout the seasons as well as landscapes of rural America.
“I am grateful to Louise Schoene and Dr. Gerald Mead for their collaborative efforts and generosity so that we can recognize and highlight a prominent female artist from the Town of West Seneca and come together to celebrate art and history. I am hopeful that this will not only attract the West Seneca Community, but also the WNY community and beyond to our Town Center. There are so many people & organizations working hard to highlight the amazing work of the Burchfield Artists, and to put the Town on the map as a destination for visitors. I think this is a step in the right direction”, said Town Supervisor Gary Dickson.
The West Seneca Chamber of Commerce has been working with many groups like the West Seneca Historical Society, Burchfield Nature and Arts Center, the Town, and the owners of the old Burchfield home to make West Seneca a destination location.
Martha Burchfield Richter studied at the Albright Art School in Buffalo, and her paintings and drawings can be found in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Butler Institute of American Art, SUNY Buffalo State College, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, and the Ford Motor Company. She is in many private and public collections around the United States and has been the subject of many exhibitions and solo exhibitions around the country. Several of her paintings were also featured in the movie Marshall.
The artworks on view, in the newly named “Martha Burchfield Richter Atrium,” are on loan from longtime West Seneca resident and art patron Louise Schoene, who owns the largest private collection of Martha’s artwork and archives.
"I am pleased and honored to support the efforts of the West Seneca town leadership to preserve the Town's history and celebrate our arts community. Furthermore, today's event is an important milestone in my decades long efforts to acknowledge and recognize the artistry of Martha Burchfield Richter and her unique place in the art history of West Seneca”, said Schoene
The current display of watercolor paintings by Martha Burchfield Richter on view in the atrium has been organized by independent curator Dr. Gerald Mead, a former longtime curator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.
"I am very pleased that the generosity of passionate art patron Louise Schoene and the receptivity of the Town of West Seneca have aligned in today's event to advance the legacy of another gifted member of the Burchfield family, watercolorist Martha Burchfield Richter. I was proud to play a part by organizing this inaugural exhibition of Martha's work in the atrium and look forward to future presentations recognizing the talents of West Seneca artists", said Dr. Gerald Mead
The Town Board Members and local officials gathered in support of the dedication.
“Today’s dedication is a fitting tribute to Martha Burchfield Richter and her remarkable work. The natural beauty of our region inspired many of her paintings, and this atrium, named in her honor, will serve as a reminder of her commitment to the West Seneca community”, said NYS Senator Patrick M. Gallivan