WILLIAM EDOUARD SCOTT (1884-1964) Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, William Edouard Scott was an African American artist who had an extremely successful and varied career. He moved to Chicago in 1904 to study at the Art Institute of Chicago during which time he was commissioned to paint murals in local schools. These works represent some of the earliest depictions of African Americans in public art and were the first of a number of murals Scott would paint throughout his life. He left Chicago for Paris in 1909 where he studied with and was greatly influenced by Henry Ossawa Tanner through whom he met Hale Woodruff and other artists working abroad. Several years later Scott returned to attend classes at the Académies Julien and Colarossi. During this time he exhibited works at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy in London. In 1914 Scott returned to America, traveling throughout the south in order to depict aspects of African American life. He also depicted African American soldiers during World War I.
Scott was awarded a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship to work in Haiti and spent thirteen months on the island from 1931-32. Greatly inspired by the tropical scenery and local population, he produced over 100 paintings. Fisherman is a superb example of these works and demonstrates Scott’s adoption of a brighter palette and more painterly approach. He exhibited all of his Haitian paintings in the capital at the end of his stay to great acclaim and 12 works were purchased by the nation’s president. Upon his return to the States, Scott enrolled in the Federal Art Project and worked on murals for the Chicago Worlds Fair. His work is in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and Guggenheim Museum, New York among others.
Bio courtesy of: Sotheby's. (American Art Auction, Sale No 9580 on 12 November 2016, Lot No 101)