An artist whose work changed markedly from rather traditional still life painting to abstraction, William Scott was born in Scotland and at age eleven, in 1924, moved with his family to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. There he studied at the Model School and took night classes from Kathleen Bridle at the Technical School. In 1928, he enrolled in the Belfast College of Art, and in 1931, began study on a Landseer Scholarship at the Royal Academy School in London.
In the late 1930s, he married and lived primarily in France including the early years of World War II. He helped to run an art school and then went to Dublin and then to London. From 1942 to 1946, he served with the Royal Engineers of England, doing lithography as a map maker.
From 1946 to 1956, he lived in Bath, England where he was a senior lecturer at the Bath Academy of Art. During this period, he also traveled to New York where he met and was much influenced by leading abstract expressionists Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline. It was at this point that his art expression underwent a drastic change.
In 1954 and 1958, he had entries in the Venice Biennale as a representative of Great Britain, and he also exhibited paintings in Europe, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. In 1998, curators of the Museum of Modern Art in Dublin organized a retrospecitve exhibition of his work.
William Scott died in Bath in 1989.
Arts Council of Northern Ireland Collection of Artists
The Dictionary of Ulster Biography
Biography from the Archives of AskART.