William Posey Silva

Click to enlarge
click image to enlarge

"Spring Hills, Texas"
Oil on board
8 x 10 inches

Click here for more available artwork

William Posey was primarily a landscape painter and an important art-world figure in Tennessee and also in California where he moved in 1913 and for thirty-five years devoted himself to painting cypress, eucalyptus, dunes, and coasts.

Born in Savannah, Georgia on October 23, 1859. Silva was educated at the Catham Academy and studied engineering briefly at the University of Virginia. Upon the death of his father, Silva inherited a successful chinaware business. For about 30 years Silva worked as a prosperous merchant and was nearly 50 years old when he began his art career.

In 1887, he moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and there became known as "the finest artist at the turn of the century" (Gerdts "Art Across America" v. III). He painted in an impressionist style and did many panoramic views of Chattanooga as well as paintings of the pine forests near Savannah. Initially he pursued his chinaware business there but in 1894, began to take art instruction. Encouraged by his wife, he retired from his business in 1907 and enrolled at the Academy Julian in Paris as a student of Jean Paul Laurens. He also painted with American artist Chauncey Ryder.

His first solo exhibition was held in Paris in 1909 at the Georges Petit Gallery; recognition came quickly, and other exhibitions followed in Europe. That same year he returned to Chattanooga and a moment of great fame was the winning of the silver medal in 1910 at the Appalachian Exposition in Knoxville where he displayed seventy canvases.

Silva had studios in Washington, D.C. and Chattanooga, Tennessee until 1913 when he settled in Carmel, California. There he built a studio in the sand dunes off Carmelita Street and for 35 years was an important figure in the local art scene and produced many prize-winning landscapes. He died on February 10, 1948.

Member: California Art Club; Society of Washington Artists; Mississippi Art Association; Paris American Art Association; Southern States Art League; New Orleans Art Association; American Artists Professional League; American Federation of Artists; Salmagundi Club; Chattanooga Art Association; Carmel Art Association.

Exhibited: Paris Salon; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Corcoran Gallery of Art; National Academy of Design; Art Institute of Chicago; deYoung Museum; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939.

Awards: silver medal, Appalachian Expo, Knoxville, 1910; silver medal, Panama- California Exposition, San Diego, 1915; gold medal, Mississippi Art Association, 1916; second prize, California State Fair, 1920, 1935; honorable mention, Paris Salon, 1922; popular prize, 1929 and second prize, 1930 Santa Cruz.

Works Held: Houston Museum; Union High School, Monterey; Harrison Library, Carmel; Luxembourg Gallery, France; Montgomery Museum; Delgado Museum, New Orleans.

Sources: www.askart.com