Virgil Macey Williams (1830-1886)

E. Davis. Virgil Williams (on his 57 [57th] birthday), Director of School of Design on Pine St. bet. Kearney [Kearny] & Montgomery Sts (1962). Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

E. Davis. Virgil Williams (on his 57 [57th] birthday), Director of School of Design on Pine St. bet. Kearney [Kearny] & Montgomery Sts (1962). Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

“In 1874, a committee from the Art Association appointed to form and carry out plans for the opening of an art school. This committee consisted of  Thomas Hill. Virgil Williams, S.W. Shaw, J. B. Wandesforde, P. Mezzara, Edward Bosque, and B.P. Avery. Naturally, one of the first important questions they faced was deciding on the director of the school. Virgil Williams was selected and they could scarcely have made a happier choice. He was fitted both by temperament and experience to undertake the difficult task, and only one of his nature could have given the devotion to the work which was necessary to make it a success. While he had done a little teaching in Boston, his ten years in Europe and his broad outlook on the field of art were what decided his fellow artists on his fitness. Then, too, they were too hopeful, most of them of individual financial success to be willing to make the sacrifice of their careers which the school night demand.”

Read Virgil Macey Williams biography in California Art Project, volume 4.

At a glance

Birth :  1830. Dixfield, Maine (United States)
Death : 1886. St. Helena, California (United States)
Arrival in San Francisco Bay area : 1862
Married to : Mary Page, Nora Dorton in 1871
Skills : Painter

Network

Art education, teachers : California School of Design
Relations : B.P. Avery, Edward Bosque, Theophilus d’Estrella, Thomas Hill, Christian August Jorgensen, P. Mezzara,  William Page, Jules Tavernier, Julian Rix, S.W. Shaw, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.B. Wandesforde, R.B. Woodward
Institutions, clubs, venues : Bohemian Club

Resources in the Bancroft Library

Pictorial archives

[View of Alameda Creek, California] Catalog Record
Gibbons family photograph album [graphic] Photographs of paintings by California artist Virgil Williams. Catalog Record

Bibliography

Boyer, H. C. & Virgil Williams (Translator) (1880). Anatomical Lecture Delivered Before the Students in the Atelier of M. Bonnat, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, 1876. San Francisco. Catalog Record

Data Visualization : mapping of  Virgil Williams’ biography

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