Monteriggioni, Tuscany, Italy
Studio View Late Winter 2015
Inside my Harwich Studio
click on images for larger views
Born: Somerville, Massachusetts, May 4, 1952
Bill Davis grew
up on Cape Cod during a time when the Cape was a much quieter summer
land. At 10 years old, he took sailing lessons at the Hyannis Port
Yacht learning to sail Beetlecats and other local built wooden boats.
At 14 years old, he started working at the Hyannis Theater and
continued there until 1970. Attended Barnstable High School and was
always found in the Art Rooms. After High School graduation and a year
attending Cape Cod Community College Bill went to work for his father's
Heating & Air conditioning Company. But in the late 70's, he
returned to painting at night after work. In 1978 he started
selling his paintings to local builders and folks in Hyannis Port. By
1982 he made the switch to painting full time. Bill had his first
show at Richard Bourne Company 1983 along with an artist friend
Elizabeth Mumford. The show was well received and attended by Lee
Remick and Jackie Onasiss. This was the beginning of a very long list
of shows all over the country.
Once you have seen a painting by William R. Davis, you will understand why Mr. Davis has a national reputation as one of the best marine artists presently working in the United States. Mr. Davis grew up in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. He is a self-taught artist whose oil paintings typically capture the serene light of sunrise or sunset on the water. He employs many of the techniques traditionally used by American luminosity painters to realize his personal vision, showing a marked preference for 19th century subjects.
In 1987, Davis made history with the first one artist show ever mounted at the prestigious Mystic Maritime Gallery in Mystic, Connecticut. All twenty of the works featured in that show were sold at the opening reception. In 1990 he received the Mystic Maritime Gallery Award of Excellence and his painting entitled "Calm Day off Latimer's Reef" appeared on the cover of Mystic's The Art of the Sea Calendar in 1993. Three of his paintings were also used in Shipwrecks Around Boston by noted Cape Cod author, William P. Quinn. Rockport Publishers has included Boston Harbor at Sunset in a new book entitled, A Gallery of Marine Art. He has also been included in the latest edition of E.H.H. Archibald's authoritative volume on Marine Art from the Flemish masters to the present.
Much of Davis' early works pays homage to 19th century artists such as James Bard, Martin Johnson Heade, Antonio Jacobsen and Fitz Hugh Lane. He limits himself to about 30 colors in the palette of that period. He describes his style as "A conglomerate of a number of ideas I saw in other artists with my own refinements". Over the years, he has incorporated his fascinations for the different techniques of these artists. This may be best explained in the works of painter, William Merritt Chase, prominently displayed in his studio, "The most original painters are those who have stolen here a little and there a little from everyone. When they arrive a the levels of the masters, they will find they can do so much better work themselves that they can't help being original".
In a tribute to Martin Johnson Heade which appeared in the July 1991 issue of American Artist magazine, Davis refers to sunset as "the hour when night usurps day". He observes that this is the "best time of day for painters to capture the 'inner state' of a landscape" and represents "an unequaled opportunity to sensitize the eye to the delicate mysteries of light and shadow".
In the September 1992 issue of Soundings, former Mystic Maritime Gallery Director, J. Russell Jinishian, described Davis by saying "His work evokes the gentility and natural beauty of the 19th century, a time we look back on with some nostalgia as it was a time less complicated and more civilized".
Although best known for his marine subjects, Davis strives to make his work accessible to those with a variety of tastes while expanding his own horizons as an artist. Following the tremendous popularity of Davis' "Lilacs and Basket", featured on the poster for The Cahoon Museum of American Art 1992 exhibition entitled, "The Flowers of New England", the Nantucket Basket series began. Note cards and limited edition prints are now available.
Davis has shifted in the last few years to painting more landscapes on location. In the process, he has converted to plein air painting, partly influenced by his friendship with artists Joseph McGurl and Donald Demers. During 1998 the three friends painted together in various locations all over New England. The result of their efforts was a show entitled The New American Luminists Revisit the Native Landscape held at Tree's Place in Orleans, Massachusetts.
2001, Wm. Davis' work was illustrated on the cover of American
Magazine along with an in depth article about his work.
cod life collector's edition named davis as one of the Top 400
famous, and intriguing people on cape cod. Davis was also an invited
at the national conference on representational painting, sponsored by
artist magazine and held in the Summer of 2004.
Fellow Member of the American Society of Marine Artists
The Guild of Boston Artists
Cape Cod Museum of Fine Art Acquisition Committee
St. Botolph Club
Board of Trustee Cape Cod Maritime Museum
Award of Excellence – Mystic Maritime Gallery International Show
1991 Second Place – Copley Society
1999 Award of Excellence – Mystic Maritime Gallery International Show
Hammer gallery, New York "gallery contemporary artists selected works" 1/12-2/28
The Admiralty Gallery , Vero Beach, FL "Along the Indian River" 2/09
Vose Gallery, Boston MA " Realism Now: Traditions & Departures - Mentors & Protégés" 5/15-7/17
The Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA "From Sea To Shining Sea: A Reflection of America " 5/09 - 7/03
The Cahoon museum of american art, cotuit, ma "twilight and starlight" 2/03 - 3/20
the mystic gallery at mystic seaport, "modern marine masters" 04/24-6/06
christina gallery, edgartown, ma one man show "Marine Paintings of New England" July 22
tree's place, orleans, ma "Marine & coastal art" 7/24-29
national conference on representational painting, Brewster, MA, (panelist) 08/27 & 28
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans, MA "Small Works Holiday Exhibition" November 26
The Admiralty Gallery, Vero Beach, FL "Indian River & Marine Paintings" Two Man Show 2/20
Tree's Place gallery, orleans, ma "The New American Luminists" 3rd Show 8/30-9/11
The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, International marine exhibition 10/4-11/30
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans MA "Small Works Holiday Exhibition" November 29
Mystic Seaport Museum Gallery, Mystic, CT "Summer Exhibition" (cover of show card) June 14
Mystic Seaport Maritime Gallery, Mystic, CT "24th Modern Marine Masters Exhibition" May 3
The Cahoon Museum of American Art, Cotuit, MA "Twilight and Starlight" Feb. 3
The Copley Society, Boston, MA "Patrons Choice" Feb. 27
Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, MA "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" 2/1-3/9,
John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, "Luminous Landscapes" 2/15-3/16
St Botolph Club, Boston, MA "Romance of the Sea"
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans, MA "Marine and Coastal Art" August 31
Mystic Seaport Maritime Gallery, Mystic, CT "23th Modern Marine Masters Exhibition" April 27
St. Botolph Club, Boston, MA "Romance of the Sea" April 10
Mystic Seaport Museum Gallery, Mystic, CT "23rd Annual International Marine Art Exhibition" Sept. 21
The Copley Society, Boston, MA "Patron's Choice" exhibition 3/22-04/14
Christina Gallery, Edgartown, MA 7/19, (Two Man Show)
Tree’s Place, Orleans, MA 8/4-8/11,
Tree's Place 9/2-9/16
The Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA 10/21-12/30.( Group Show)
The Cahoon Museum of American Art, Cotuit, MA "Winter Wonderland, Snow Scenes of New England" Nov. 13
John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CA "Scapes, Air, City, Land, Sea" July 1
John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, CA "William Davis, Donald Demers & Joseph McGurl Paint Northern California"
Tree’s Place, Orleans, MA "The New American Luminists, 2nd show"
Mystic Maritime Gallery, 20th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition
1998 Tree’s Place "The New American Luminists Revisit the Native Landscape
Sharon Arts Center, New Hampshire, "Seaworthy Ships: Master Marine Artists"
J. Russell Jinishian Gallery, Inc., CT, "Marine and Sporting Art of Today and Yesterday"
Big Horn Galleries "Marine Art of Yesterday & Today"
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans, MA "The New American Luminists Revisit the Native Landscape" Sept. 5
Mystic Seaport Museum Gallery, Mystic, CT "Wetpaint Auction" June 6
Copley Society, Boston, MA "Wetpaint" June 14
Arts Center, Petersbough, NH "seaworthy Ships, Master marine Artists"
Big Horn Galleries, Fairfield, CT "Group Show" December 4
J. Russell Jinishian Gallery, Fairfield, CT "Marine & Sporting Art of Yesterday"
Copley Society,Boston, MA "Fresh Paint" June 15
Christina Gallery, Edgartown, MA "Two Man Show"
Mystic Seaport Museum Gallery, Mystic, CT "International Show" Sept.
Horn Gallery "Marine Art of Yesterday and Today" Feb. 17
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans, MA "Painting with Light" 2 man show August 10
Copley Society, Boston, MA "Fresh Paint" June 9
Maritime Gallery of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, NH "Group Show" March 23
Mystic Seaport Maritime Gallery, Mystic, CT "Invitational Show" April
Wilson Gallery, Nantucket, MA "One Man Show" July 6
Mystic Seaport Museum Gallery, Mystic, CT "International Show" Sept
Horn Galleries "An American Marine Legacy" Group Show
Mystic Maritime Gallery, International Marine Art Exhibition "Modern Marine Masters"
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans, MA Group Show
Roger King Gallery, Newport, RI "Newport Maritime Festival"
Willson Gallery, Nantucket, MA "
Lily Pad Gallery,
Charlestown, RI "Two Man Show"
Tree's Place Gallery, Orleans, MA "One Man Show" July
Cape Museum of fine art permanent collection
The Donovan Gallery 2004 Making Art - Plein air 05/10 -14
Donovan Gallery 2002 Making Art-Selling Art Seminar
Interview Jan. 23 1996
Cape Museum of Fine Arts, Inc. Dennis, MA – Tuesdays with the Muse" series - "Ships, Slips & Boats Afloat" April 17, 2001
Museum of Natural History, Brewster, MA
Barnstable Historical Society, "Treasures at the Trayser"
Symposium on Cape Cod Maritime History
Community Foundation of Cape Cod, "Making Art and Making A Living"
Cape Cod Antique Dealers Association, Maritime Art of New England 1840-1880
Curator, Cape Museum of Fine Art, Marine Exhibit: "Cape Cod: It’s
Influences Past & Present" 1993
Tidemark 2008 "Art of the Sea
American Artist Magazine,
"The Totality of Nature" June 2008
Acounts of Yankee Ingenuity & Grit ( Front &
Back Cover Illustrations) 2007
Mystic Seaport Fine Art
Visions in Granite
(hard cover) Front Illustration 2006
Isles of Shoals (hard
Cape Cod Magazine July
2006 "The Mariner on Canvas"
Collector July 2006
(extensive article with images)
Marine Art Quarterly Fall/Winter 2005-2006 (cover illustration)Fine Art Connoisseur, April 2006 "New American Luminists. Land Light and Sea"
cod life collector's edition Top 400 influential, famous, and
intriguing people October 2004
Vero Beach Magazine
"Process of Illumination" February 2003
for Blue Water-Contemporary American Marine Art a new book by J.
Cod Life, Full Article June 2002
Cape Cod Magazine
Holiday Edition Dec. 2001 (Front Cover and article)
Art of the West September 2001 "Capturing the Grandeur of Yosemite"Southwest Art November 2001 "Yosemite Artists"
American Artist Magazine
Issue. (Front Cover) w/ extensive article
Cod Life Magazine "The Solitude's of Nature" August 2000 issue –
Tide-Mark Publishing –Art of the
Sea Calendar 2000,
Artist Magazine, "Organizing Reference Material" – March issue,
Barnstable Patriot, 9- 24-1998,
Publication, Rockport Publishers, Marine Art –
Fine Art by Jerry McClish,
Cape Cod Guide,
The Register, May 8 1997 "William R Davis, Artist & Collector"
Shipwrecks Around Boston
Hard Cover Book by William P.
on Canvas Hard cover book by James Taylor, Illustration
Gallery, The Art of the Sea Calendar (1993 Cover)
– Arts & Antiques, Sept. 1993
Cape Cod Life,
"Contemporary Marine Art, Bill Davis Sets the Trend" Fall 1984
Soundings, "A Feel of
Light that Recalls an Earlier Time" Sept. 1992
American Artist Magazine
"William R Davis on Martin Johnson Heade's Sunsets" July
Currier’s Price Guide to American Artists1990
"Breaking Away, Perfect Path for William R Davis" Nov.-
Dictionary of Sea Painters
Fire and Ice,
A History of Comets in Art Smithsonian Institution,
Antique Collector’s Club Ltd.