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 Charles Sneed Williams  (1882 - 1964)

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Lived/Active: Illinois/Kentucky/Indiana      Known for: portrait painter

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Evansville, Indiana, Charles Sneed Williams became a noted portrait painter and has work in the Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfort, the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, and in the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia.

He studied art in Louisville, Kentucky with Edward Biedermann, a prominent artist of that city. He then learned of a contest for scholarships to the Allan-Fraser Art College in Scotland, about sixty-five miles outside of Edinburgh. He won the scholarship and spent four years studying in Scotland. Then he opened a portrait studio in Glasgow where he met and married in 1912 his wife, Elsie Luke. Her father was Naval Director for John Brown & Co., ship builders of the "Aquitania", "Lusitania" and "Queen Mary".

Before marrying, Williams returned to Louisville from where he continued to travel as an itinerant portraitist. Among his clients were wealthy persons of the Kentucky bluegrass horse-racing aristocracy. He also trips back to England where he was welcomed into London and Parisien society. He did portraits of ladies at English court including Princess Marie Louise, grand daughter of Queen Victoria, and in Paris, he did a portrait of the Duchess de Rochefoucauld, head of the League of Women Suffrage in France. In Paris, he was one of three American artists elected to the Cercle de l'Union Artistique, Paris during fifty-five years of its existence.

His work has been widely exhibited including in London at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and in Scotland at the Glasgow Institute.

Williams became a member of the Union Internationale des Beaux-Arts. An itinerant artist, he lived between Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky, where he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Louisville Art Association.

Paintings by this artist are in the United States Capitol in Washington DC; Kentucky State Capitol; American College of Surgeons; Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia; Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois; and the Vanderpoel Art Association.

Williams died in London in 1964 at the age of 82. His obituary appeared in the "Louisville Times" 10-17-64.


Sources include:
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
Sidney Hamper, President of Vanderpoel Association, Chicago, Illinois. He provided a clipping from "The Chicago Daily News", 3/7/1936.

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