Artist Search
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 

 May Wilson Preston  (1873 - 1949)

About: May Wilson Preston


Examples of her work


Quick facts

Exhibits - current  




Book references

Magazine references pre-2007


Discussion board

Signature Examples*

Buy and Sell: May Wilson Preston
  For sale ads

Auction results*

  Wanted ads Auctions upcoming for her*  

Auction sales graphs*


What's my art worth?

Magazine ads pre-1998*


Market Alert - Free

Lived/Active: New York      Known for: illustration, genre, figure, landscape painting

Login for full access
View AskART Services

*may require subscription

Available for May Wilson Preston:

Quick facts (Styles, locations, mediums, teachers, subjects, geography, etc.) (May Preston)


Biographical information (May Preston)


Book references (May Preston)


Magazine references (May Preston)


Museum references (May Preston)


Auction records - upcoming / past (May Preston)


Auction high record price (May Preston)


Signature Examples* (May Preston)


Analysis of auction sales (May Preston)


Discussion board entries (May Preston)


Image examples of works (May Preston)


Magazine ads pre-1998 (May Preston)


Please send me Alert Updates for May Wilson Preston (free)
What is an alert list?

Ad Code: 3
May Wilson Preston
from Auction House Records.
Woman with Fan
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
"At the height of her career, May Wilson Preston was one of the highest paid illustrators in America. Her illustrations were seen weekly in the SATURDAY EVENING POST, and her name was well known. She and her husband, James Preston, lived in New York City and entertained the "literary and artistic celebrities of the day. They were elegant, talented, and fun to be around."

Her birth name was Mary W Wilson but she was called May most of her life. However, confusion has existed with her signatures, and in 1908, she wrote to an inquirer from Oberlin College: "I am not surprised at a mix-up for I have had three signatures."

By age 16, she was one of the founders of the Women's Art Club, but her parents discouraged her going to art school and sent her to Oberlin College where she studied both art and music. From 1892 to 1897, she was enrolled in the Art Students League in New York and was a student of Robert Henri, John Twachtman, and William Merritt Chase.

In 1898, she married Thomas Watkins, and they traveled to Paris where she studied with James Whistler. Watkins died in 1900, and as a widow, she lived in New York and roomed with art student Edith Dimock, (who later married William Glackens) and Lou Seyme. Their apartment in the Sherwood Studios on 57th Street was in the same building as the Henris, and it became a gathering place for artists whose discussions there led to the founding of the Ashcan School and the Society of Illustrators of which May Wilson Preston was the first and only woman member for years. In 1941, she was elected an honorary life member, the first woman to receive that honor.

During this period, Preston sold her her first illustration to HARPER'S BAZAAR. In 1903, she married James Preston, a painter, and from then had the personal and professional name of May Wilson Preston. The couple traveled regularly to France, often with Edith and William Glackens, and there May Preston painted impressionist landscapes of the countryside. However, her strength remained with illustration, which she did for writers including Ring Lardner, Mary Roberts Rinehart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and P.G. Wodehouse.

She exhibited widely including the Pennsylvania Academy, Art Institute of Chicago, National Academy of Design and Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco.

In 1933, Preston retired from illustration because of a serious skin condition, but "she took up gardening with the same fervor she had devoted to art." In 1935, she and her husband retired to Easthampton, where she died in 1949.

Source: Stephanie Strass, "American Women Artists"

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

May Preston is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
New York Armory Show of 1913
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

  go to top home | site map | site terms | AskART services & subscriptions | contact | about us
  copyright © 2000-2015 AskART all rights reserved ® AskART and Artists' Bluebook are registered trademarks

  A |  B |  C |  D-E |  F-G |  H |  I-K |  L |  M |  N-P |  Q-R |  S |  T-V |  W-Z  
  frequently searched artists 1, 2, more...  
  art appraisals, art for sale, auction records, misc artists