The following biography was submitted in June of 2006:
Well known for his highly representational egg tempera paintings of birds and animals, and his artisanship in printmaking and lithography, William Wind McKim was born on May 13, 1916 in Independence, Missouri.
At a young age, McKim began his sketches of the vast western landscape and wildlife in the course of relocation with his minister father from Utah to Missouri.
After graduating High School in 1934, he attended the Kansas City Art Institute, but soon dropped out due to the financial hardship of the Great Depression. After re-enrolling as a part-time student, McKim received a Howard Vanderslice Scholarship with the assistance of his two professors John De Martelly and Thomas Hart Benton who encouraged his full time attendance, noticing his budding talent.
Following the1939 New York World’s Fair Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, in which he entered his first lithograph depicting a gamecock, McKim earned immediate notoriety by entering the Who’s who in American Art. The following year, art critics Thomas Craven and Royal Cortissoz celebrated his collection of eight paintings portraying Aesop’s Fables during a show of Benton students at the Associated American Artists galleries. Craven singled out McKim giving him high accolades in his review.
Shortly after World War II began, he went to serve in the army as a second lieutenant, spending two years in the South Pacific region of New Caledonia. While he served in New Caledonia, he often kept a large notebook where he sketched the natives, scenery, and American service members there.
Upon his return in 1945, the director of the Kansas City Art Institute invited him to join the staff to teach drawing and to reopen the Lithography department, which had been dormant during the war. He accepted the teaching position anticipating that it was only a temporary position. Having had a long fascination with printmaking, McKim found the printing equipment untouched at the Art Institute. Through reading instruction manuals on printmaking, he became self-taught in the process; eventually he wrote and published his own manual titled Printing from Stone. In 1946, he initiated the first printmaking class at the Art Institute, encouraging students to print their own designs from stones to plates, instead of leaving it to the residential technician.
McKim balanced his art career as an artist and professor while exhibiting nationally and internationally; His work is in private collections in the U.S. and abroad, including a pianting and prints at the Ashby Hodge Gallery of American Art at Central Methodist College, Fayette, Missouri.
Although he was an avid traveler, he resided in Kansas City, Missouri until his death on April 22, 1995.