Van Gogh •
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Walter Williams, painter, print-maker, and sculptor, was born in
Brooklyn, New York where he attended the public schools.
He studied at the Brooklyn
Museum Art School for four years (1951-1955) where he came into contact with Ben Shahn, Reuben Tam, Victor Candell, and
Gregorio Prestopino. The latter's rich velvety blacks undershot with deep reds and greens strongly influenced Williams'
own work. In 1953 Williams
won a summer scholarship to the art school at Skowhegan, Maine, and there won first prize for painting. He began to exhibit
his work in 1954 and in
1955 won a Whitney Fellowship that permitted him to travel and work in Mexico. He won the National Institute of Arts and
Letters grant in 1960 and the Silvermine Award in 1963, among others. Williams went to Europe in 1960, spent some time in
Amsterdam and London and then settled in Copenhagen for four years. He then moved to Rome, remained until 1966 when he
became artist-in-residence at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He has had many one-man shows and participated in a
great many group exhibitions, showing paintings and prints, drawings and sculpture. Many of his works are in important
museums; among these are The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and the
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The word that comes to mind when this artist's name is mentioned is "nature,"
for Williams, although born and brought up in the largest city in the world, can still remember when part of that city was a
flowering tree-lined area in which children could escape the hard pavements and enjoy the pleasures of the sights and sounds
that most of us delight in: birds, soft summer evenings, green landscapes; The Chairman of the Department of Art at Fisk
University wrote of him: "Paintings and prints echo more than childhood memories, but also a dream world where the mind is
at peace with nature and self. . .one of the rays of light so often needed in a so often light-deprived world."