- HOW DO I?
- WESTFIELD HISTORY
Genevieve Mae Burnett
July 1945-November 2015
Genevieve Burnett was a lifelong and prolific painter who produced new art throught her life. She battled persecutory auditory hallucinations from childhood, but lived primarily independently for most of her adult life with occasional stays in psychiatric hospitals from the age of 18.
Her artistic ouput was astonishing. She produced over 1000 fine oil paintings from 1965-2008, then fell and crushed her hip resulting in permanent institutionalized nursing care until her death in November 215.
Burnett left over 700 paintings in the care of the Anchor House of Artists in Northampton where she was a member since its founding in 1997. She also left behind 100 spiral-bound journals dating back to 1965, which held 10,000 pages of writings and poetry as well as boxes of drawings and watercolors dating back to her childhood. There are another two hundred paintings extant, many in fine collections in Washington D.D. and New York, though many others were destroyed due to inadequate storage and exposure.
Over the past 8 years under the supervision of Michael Tillyer, Anchor House of Artists founding director, a team of Hampshire college student interns have organized and cataloged most of the artworks, writings and works on paper in its care. In the last few years of her life and from her hospital bed Burnett began to condense her experience into a memoir, making drawings to illustrate certain works and events to accompany the writing. These are now in the custodial care of the Anchor House of Artists.
On the Anchor House of Artists:
Established in 1997, the Anchor House of Artists is a subsidized studio, gallery and performance arena with the mission to suport the studio lives of artists living with mental illnesses; represent and archive their artwork; fight the stigma they face and bring new art to Western Massachusetts and beyond.