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 William Henry Price  (1863/64 - 1940)

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape, marine painting

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William Henry Price
An example of work by William Henry Price
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Ralph H. Cole, Sunriver, Oregon. He writes that "my mother and older brother were good friends of both Mr. & Mrs. Price
while living in Butte, Montana. After Mr. Price passed away they kept in touch with Mrs. Price over the years until she passed on.  My older brother who was very much into art and antiques purchased many of Mr. Price's paintings.  I presently have on large (30" x 36") and another about (12" X 14") painting by him.  My sisters children have probably 10 or 12 of them also, these were all left to us by my brother who passed away .

The biography I am attaching was taken from a catalog printed many years ago by the Oregon State College at Corvalis.  This is where Mrs. Price and her son donated some 52 of his paintings and as far as I know are still in there for viewing.  I understand also that another memorial collection of his works is located at Mount Angel Abbey, Saint Benedict, Oregon, near Mr. Angel.


William Henry Price (1864-1940) was born at Irwin, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  At an early age he engaged in the mining industry in Pennsylvania, and later in Wyoming and Montana. He was superintendent of the Moonlight mine of the Anaconda Copper Company at Butte, Montana, and while there made valuable engineering contributions to the company and to the mining industry in general.

He married Mrs. Sarah B. Cox, a member of a distinguished Canadian family.  She was educated in Boston and New York, a lady of culture and a teacher of art. Mark B. Price, a son lived in Los Angeles, California.

Mr. Price had little schooling, but through constant study he became a mining engineer while at the same time pursuing many cultural subjects which gave him satisfaction throughout his life.  It was not until the age of fifty-six, after he had retired from business and gone to California to live, that he was able to devote all of this time to painting, following an urge which had been in the background of his consciousness all his life.  He advanced rapidly and became one of the ranking artists of the day.

He had no formal art education. What he learned came through observation and hard work, with technical criticism and constant support from his wife.  They spent a year in travel, studying the work of leading artists in England, France, and Italy, and gaining inspiration in China, Japan, India, Egypt, and the Holy Land.

Mr. Price was one of the founders of the Academy of Western Painters.  He was a member of the Painters' and Sculptors' Club of Los Angeles, and an active member of California Art Club.  He received the Popular Prize at the National Painters' and Sculptors' exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum in 1931; first prize for landscape at the annual exhibition of the Pasadena Society of Artists in 1936; also the Popular Prize at the 1937 Civic Art Exhibition in Pasadena; and won other awards at the California State Fair in Sacramento. His paintings have been shown in important exhibitions in various cities, and are to be found in many well-known galleries and collections.

Mr. Price was a man of spiritual understanding.  He recognized the supremacy of the Infinite, and acknowledged the source of his ability and success.

Mr. Price's work is unique and original. Most of it was done with the palette knife, but he used the brush at times, especially for cloud and sky portrayal.  He used bright and lively colors, with modern paints.  His mixture of colors was peculiarly his own and has often proved impossible to imitate. Fellow artists have noted the quality and great depth in his painting.  This adds immensely to the presentation, even though the latter is not intended to be photographic.  Rather, it is interpretive, showing the theme, or soul- expression of the artist as he viewed the subject presented.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Pittsburgh, PA on Feb. 14, 1863.   Price had a few art lessons from Emil Forester while working for Anaconda Copper Company in Butte, MT.  He had visited Laguna Beach, CA in 1910 and, after retiring from the business world in 1920, settled there and devoted the rest of his life to art.  He studied briefly with Edgar Payne but was primarily a self-taught painter of landscapes and marines.  Price died in Pasadena, CA on Sept. 12, 1940. 

Exh:  American Painters & Sculptors (LA), 1931 (prize); Tuesday Afternoon Club (LA), 1932; Gardena Art Gallery, 1933 (2nd prize); Clearwater Gallery, 1934 (1st prize); Maryland Hotel (LA), 1934; Calif. State Fair, 1934, 1935; Academy of Western Painters, 1935-38; Pasadena Society of Artists, 1935-37 (1st prize); Calif. Art Club, 1930s; Laguna Beach AA, 1930s.  In:  Gardena (CA) High School.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
WWAA 1936-41; SCA; LA Times, 9-13-1940 (obit).
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.

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

William Price is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club

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