Virgil Williams: “He shaped the dawn of Western Art”



By Ruth Nicholson Post
The life and work of an important 19th-century California artist, a colleague of Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, William Keith, and others, in “Shaping the Dawn of Western Art.” The first director of the San Francisco Art Institute.

Virgil Williams hailed from a distinguished New England Protestant lineage, tracing his roots directly to Roger Williams. Transitioning from his traditional upbringing posed a challenge as he pursued his passion for art amidst familial expectations. Following a decade in Rome, enveloped in Italy’s wealthy Catholic and Renaissance culture, Virgil eventually settled in San Francisco in 1871. His time abroad served as a counterbalance to his Puritanical background, fostering a newfound appreciation for painting.

The artist yearned for more expressive avenues despite a reluctant return to Boston. The allure of California, reminiscent of his cherished Naples and Capri, beckoned him. In the vibrant atmosphere of San Francisco, his art flourished, resonating deeply with an enthusiastic audience.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Illuminations Press (August 15, 1998)
    Paperback, 144 pages
    Used Like New condition