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William Woodward

 (1859 - 1939)
William Woodward was active/lived in Louisiana, California, Massachusetts.  William Woodward is known for town-landscape, portrait, genre painting, art education.

William Woodward

Biography from the Archives of askART

A painter, teacher, sketch artist, etcher, and architect, William Woodward is known primarily for his impressionist paintings of the French Quarter in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.  He was active in New Orleans from 1885 to 1923, and Biloxi, Mississippi, from 1924 to 1939.  He also painted landscapes including the Yellowstone Falls of the Grand Canyon when he traveled to Canada, Hawaii, and throughout the American West.

Woodward was born in Seekonk, Massachusetts and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Massachusetts Normal Art School in Boston, and the Academie Julian with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre.

He and his brother, Ellsworth, were highly influential figures in New Orleans in the 19th century.  William's interest in art was stirred by the Philadelphia Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.  He moved to New Orleans in 1876 and taught at Tulane University and Newcomb College until his retirement in 1922. He was married to landscape painter Louise Giesen Woodward.

He brought Ellsworth to Tulane, and they were both instrumental in the organization of Newcomb College. William was the founder of the Newcomb School of Architecture and worked hard to preserve the architectural integrity of the French Quarter.  To achieve historic preservation, he did numerous paintings, prints and drawings of the French Quarter.

In 1921, he had severe injury while painting a mural and spent the remainder of his life in a wheelchair.  After he moved to Biloxi, he continued to paint and invented fiberloid, an etching process, with which he created prints based on his earlier paintings.

Sources include:
Peter Hastings Falk (ed.) Who Was Who in American Art
John Mahe. Encyclopedia of New Orleans Artists

Biography from the Archives of askART
Born in Seekonk, MA on May 1, 1859. Woodward was for many years head of the art department at Tulane University in New Orleans. Having just returned from a trip to Hawaii, in 1926 he was in Carmel for a few weeks sketching and exhibiting. He died on Nov. 17, 1939. Member: Mississippi AA; Laguna Beach AA. In: High Museum (Atlanta); Tulane Univ.

Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
American Art Annual 1900-33;Western Arts, Feb. 1926; Who's Who in American Art 1936-39; NY Times, 11-18-1939 (obituary).

Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery

Best known for his impressionist views of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the French Quarter of New Orleans, William Woodward was born and raised near Providence, Rhode Island. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Massachusetts Normal Art School (now the Massachusetts College of Art), before moving to New Orleans in 1884 to teach art at the newly established Tulane College.  In 1887, following a year's study at the Academie Julian in Paris, he returned to New Orleans to assist in the organization of Newcomb College, installing his younger brother, Ellsworth, as head of its art department. Active in the artistic life of the city until 1939, William helped establish the New Orleans Vieux Carre Historical Preservation Commission, Art League of New Orleans, Art Association of New Orleans, Southern States Art League and Gulf Coast Art Association. Also an architect, he designed some of the early buildings on Tulane University campus and founded the Tulane School of Architecture in 1907.

In addition to these civic accomplishments, Woodward was a prolific artist, and exhibited throughout the South regularly until his death. Around 1895 he became interested in the architecture of the French Quarter, and began making on-the-spot oil sketches of many of its historic buildings, inspiring the preservation movement that saved a vast majority of these structures from demolition.

In 1921 Woodward underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his spine, a procedure that left him paralyzed for the rest of his life (Bragg and Saward, p. 193). After that, he lived for most of the year on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi near Biloxi. He recorded his impressions of this picturesque locale in such paintings as Oyster Wharf - Biloxi and Back Bay Moon, Biloxi (Ogden Museum, New Orleans), both painted in the 1920s.

Seeking more far-flung sites, he made working trips to the West and to Southern California, spending several months at Carmel, the artist's colony. In 1926 he took a sea voyage to Hawaii and painted the moonlight over Waikiki and other exotic subjects. As travel became more difficult, Woodward turned to print making, inventing a dry point technique, which he termed fiberloid, to engrave his earlier Raffaelli oil crayons of the Vieux Carre. These were collected into an edition in 1938 and sold for the benefit of the Vieux Carre Commission.

Nancy Rivard Shaw

Jean Moore Bragg and Dr. Susan Saward. Painting the Town: The Woodward Brothers Come to New Orleans. New Orleans: Jean Bragg Gallery, 2004.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

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About  William Woodward

Born:  1859 - Seekonk, Massachusetts
Died:   1939 - New Orleans, Louisiana
Known for:  town-landscape, portrait, genre painting, art education

Essays referring to
William Woodward

San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915