Edna M. Lindemann, Ph.D., the Buffalo State College art history professor who first envisioned an art gallery as a tribute to Buffalo artist Charles Burchfield and guided his work and the gallery to national prominence, died Friday in Father Baker Manor, Orchard Park, after a long illness. She was 91.
Dr. Lindemann and Burchfield, an art education professor, dedicated the gallery in the old college library in 1965 a month before Burchfield died. She built the collection over the next two decades to museum standards and turned it into a research center, as well as a venue for major exhibits and art collections.
In 1967, she was named curator and then director in 1972. During her tenure, which lasted until she retired in 1985, the Burchfield Art Center acquired more than 400 of Burchfield's works and began a collection of works by living artists from Western New York.
After her retirement, Dr. Lindemann continued as an art consultant, appraiser and researcher. She also served on the advisory board for the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Born Edna Melbohm in Buffalo, she was the daughter of a prominent art dealer and picture framer whose Connecticut Street shop was a meeting place for local artists. In 1938, she earned a degree in art education from the University of Buffalo and a diploma from the Albright Art School, where she taught classes.
She was a magna cum laude master's graduate in art from Northwestern University and did graduate studies under Eliel Saarinen at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She earned her doctorate in art education from Columbia University.
Dr. Lindemann taught in the Buffalo Public Schools, at the University of Vermont and New York University, then in 1954 joined the faculty at Buffalo State College, where as director of development and director of cultural affairs she designed interior spaces on a great deal of the campus.
A Buffalo News Citizen of the Year for 1984, she received numerous awards. She was a founding member of the Associated Art Organizations of Buffalo, a founding member and former chairwoman of the Gallery Association of New York State and a trustee of the Buffalo State College Foundation.
Her husband, the Rev. Fred, a pastor and theologian, died in 1958.
A service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in Immanuel Lutheran Church, Pine Street and Fillmore Avenue, East Aurora.