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Walter Henry Williams

 (1920 - 1998)
Walter Henry Williams was active/lived in New York, Tennessee / Denmark.  Walter Williams is known for modernist-leaning landscape, genre, animal, fowl painting, woodcuts.

Walter Henry Williams

Biography from Alpen Gallery

Biography photo for Walter Henry Williams
Walter Williams, painter, print-maker, and sculptor, was born in Brooklyn, New York where he attended the public schools. He studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School for four years (1951-1955) where he came into contact with Ben Shahn, Reuben Tam, Victor Candell, and Gregorio Prestopino. The latter's rich velvety blacks undershot with deep reds and greens strongly influenced Williams' own work.

In 1953 Williams won a summer scholarship to the art school at Skowhegan, Maine, and there won first prize for painting.  He began to exhibit his work in 1954, and in 1955 won a Whitney Fellowship that permitted him to travel and work in Mexico.  He won the National Institute of Arts and Letters grant in 1960 and the Silvermine Award in 1963, among others. Williams went to Europe in 1960, spent some time in Amsterdam and London and then settled in Copenhagen for four years. He then moved to Rome, remained until 1966 when he became artist-in-residence at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.

He has had many one-man shows and participated in a great many group exhibitions, showing paintings and prints, drawings and sculpture.  Many of his works are in important museums; among these are The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

The word that comes to mind when this artist's name is mentioned is "nature," for Williams, although born and brought up in the largest city in the world, can still remember when part of that city was a flowering tree-lined area in which children could escape the hard pavements and enjoy the pleasures of the sights and sounds that most of us delight in: birds, soft summer evenings, green landscapes;

The Chairman of the Department of Art at Fisk University wrote of him: "Paintings and prints echo more than childhood memories, but also a dream world where the mind is at peace with nature and self. . .one of the rays of light so often needed in a so often light-deprived world."

Modern Makers Gallery,

Biography from California African American Museum
Walter Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York, August 11, 1920. He studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School under Ben Shahn, Reuben Tam and Gregoria Prestopino. He also spent a summer studying art at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.

About six or seven years after completing his art studies, sometime in the early 1960s, Williams moved to Copenhagen, Denmark. He returned briefly to the United States, where he completed a body of work informed by the experiences of being an African American living in the South.

It was while he was in Copenhagen, however, that he created a series of colorful woodcuts of black children playing in fields of flowers. He died in Copenhagen in June 1998.

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Biography photo for Walter Henry Williams
Photograph of Walter Williams from 1968

About  Walter Henry Williams

Born:  1920 - Brooklyn, New York
Died:   1998 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Known for:  modernist-leaning landscape, genre, animal, fowl painting, woodcuts

Essays referring to
Walter Henry Williams

Black American Artists