William Starkweather 1879–1969

Distinguished painter, teacher and writer, William Starkweather, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1879. His parents immigrated to America when he was four, settling in New Haven, Connecticut.

After graduating from high school, Starkweather decided to pursue a career as an artist. He initiated his studies at the Art Students' League in New York during the late 1890s. In 1899, he traveled to Paris where he studied at the Académie Colarossi and was first introduced to the work of Joaquín Sorolla.

Returning to New York in 1901, Starkweather supported himself and saved for a trip to Spain by teaching at a private boys' school and illustrating books. In 1903, he arrived in Seville and immediately contacted Sorolla, who agreed to take him on as his student. Starkweather worked under the Spanish master of the next three years. He returned to New York around 1906, painting landscapes and urban scenes in a style based on Sorolla's colorism and technique. In 1909, Starkweather was invited to coordinate Sorolla’s visit to the United States for an exhibition organized by the Hispanic Society of America where Starkweather would go on to become an assistant curator until 1916.

During the 1920s, Starkweather made a number of painting trips throughout the northeast, spending much of his time at Eastport, Maine and Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. He also visited Italy in 1925. He continued to write about Spanish art as well as other artists whose work he admired, including John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer and Anthony van Dyck. He taught at several institutions including the Cooper Union School, Pratt Institute and the Traphagen School before joining the faculty at Hunter College as an instructor of watercolor in 1936.

Starkweather had many one-man shows in New York, at such venues as the Folsom Galleries and the Fifteen Gallery. He also exhibited with the Society of Independent Artists, the American Watercolor Society and the Allied Artists of America. He continued to work in a realist style, with much success, at a time when most American artists had turned to abstraction.

William Starkweather died in 1969. Examples of his work can be found in many prominent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the Hickory (N.C.) Museum of Art.

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