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 William Fisher  (1891 - 1985)

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Lived/Active: New York/Maine      Known for: magazine illustration, painting, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
William Fisher
from Auction House Records.
The Barn
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
William Fisher was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1891. He studied at the Brooklyn Institute of Art and Science and at Pratt Institute. Following service as an ambulance driver in WWI, he remained in Europe after the war and studied painting in Rome, Italy for one year. Upon his return from Rome, to New Jersey, he pursued his painting and began to teach small art classes.

In the 1920's Fisher became a successful illustrator. His work appeared in Saturday Evening Post, Mc Calls, Harpers and other popular magazines. He later did pen and ink sketches for the "Villager," a weekly Greenwich Village newspaper. Microfilmed pages of the Villager are preserved in New York University's Washington Square Library. His sketches also appeared on the cover of the "Gotham Guide," which was sold Fridays at news stands in Manhattan.

In partnership with Margaret Kilburn, an artist and crafts person, Fisher opened an art gallery and school at 33 West 8th St in NYC during the 1930s. They also opened a summer art gallery and school in 1949 in Kennebunkport, Maine, which ran for many years, and, after the NY gallery closed (around 1952), they made a full time commitment to living and working in Kennebunkport, Maine. Fisher was the recipient of over 100 awards. His work was widely exhibited in Philadelphia,Pa., Montclair, Trenton, and Newark, NJ, the Currier Gallery in New Hampshire and the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine.

William Fisher and Margaret Kilburn were familiar and beloved figures in Kennebunkport. They taught generations of local children, and they participated in numerous exhibits with other artists, both in the Kennebunkport area and throughout Maine. Mr Fisher always insisted on marching in the local Memorial Day parade, until he was well in his 90's, because he didn't want to ride in a car provided for older veterans. Many homes in the Kennebunks have his works, including members of the Bush family, and they were purchased by numerous out of state and Canadian summer visitors. There are several examples of his works in the Kennebunkport Town Offices and in local churches.

Fisher loved to paint "big" canvases, usually local Maine scenes in later years, done in a thickly painted, darkly outlined modernist style that had a distinct 1930's style about them. Margaret Kilburn, his partner, created fanciful, sparkling works in glass, baked in a kiln, that depicted birds, flowers, small human figures that were much in demand locally.

They were a warm, delightful couple, who lived for their art, and who loved sharing their knowledge of art.

Newspaper obituaries about William Fisher report that he died on March 9,1985 in Biddeford, Maine at a Biddeford nursing home. Material from his family dated his birth year as 1891, Brooklyn, NY. His wife, artist, Margaret Kilburn, died in 1984. His work is still carried by a gallery in New York City and by the Boston Art Club. Additional biographical material and some examples of his work may be seen at the Graves Memorial Library, Main St. in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Submitted by Monique & Jerry Collins, Kennebunkport, Maine, October 2003

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