William R. Davis
Although he made his name painting the great steamers of times gone by, WILLIAM R. DAVIS has expanded his repertoire to include marvelously evocative sailing craft, marsh scenes, coastal landscapes and still-lifes. While acknowledging a debt to Jacobson, Bard and Fritz Hugh Lane whose work he has studied closely, Davis is a self-taught artist who has developed his own techniques and artistic identity. With his luminous skies, vibrant colors, and exquisite finish, Mr. Davis has forged a special contemporary link with the great 19th century artists, and the spirit and beauty their work embodies.
Bill grew up on Cape Cod during a time when the Cape was a much quieter summer vacation 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.
Mr. Davis is a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists, the Copely Society of Boston and the Cape Museum of Fine Arts. He has exhibited in many shows around New England, and he is represented in private collections throughout the U.S. Three of his paintings have appeared in Shipwrecks Around Boston, a book by William P. Quinn.
In 1987, Davis made history with the first one-man show at the prestigious Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. All twenty of the works featured in that show were sold at the opening reception. In 1990 he received the 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.