William R. Davis, Jr.: Biography

William R. 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. 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.

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.

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.