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When the city of Buffalo was incorporated in the early nineteenth century, painting was perhaps the most powerful form of representation for the American landscape and its people. Lithography, engraving and the letter press were used to print multiple impressions of various images and text, but colored paint applied to linen canvas or board was the dominant visual paradigm of the time. The population of this growing community at the mouth of the Niagara River, on the shores of Lake Erie was only about 10,000 people in 1832, but the recently completed Erie Canal would bring many more people to the city and the surrounding area over the next hundred years.
Around the same time that the city of Buffalo was established, French inventors Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1765-1833) and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) were pioneering photographic processes that would change the way humanity represented itself and the world forever. Over the next fifty years, various developments in the process would lead to the founding of the Eastman Kodak company in Rochester, New York. No longer the primary tool for representing humanity, artists were free to experiment, and transform the picture plane with paint.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center will present In the Fullness of Time, Painting in Buffalo, 1832-1970 in its featured East Gallery from November 8, 2019 until February 29, 2020. The exhibition will draw from public and private collections and focus on important works and painters whose work had a lasting impact on the art and artists of the region.
Important works The Center will be exhibited from early in the history of the city of Buffalo, including works by Hamilton Hamilton (1847-1928), William Graham (1832-1911) and Annie Crawford (1856-1942). Rarely seen works from private collections by artists like Grace Beals (1868-1929) and Florence Julia Bach (1887-1979) will be included as well. The exhibition will cover the history of the practice of painting in Buffalo and the surrounding region from the time of the founding of the city of Buffalo in 1832 until 1970.