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Guide to the Amory Leland Williams watercolors and etchings, 1921-1957

Summary

Collection is arranged in two series: watercolor paintings by artchitect and amateur artist Amory Leland Williams, painted from 1923 to 1939; and a group of etchings by various noted American artists, dating from 1921 to 1957, collected by Williams. Most of the watercolors measure about 12x19 inches, and were painted in southern France and Italy, with a few from southern California and the American or Mexican desert. In Europe, Williams painted in brilliant scenes of Greek temples, churches, barns, canals, gardens, and monuments. The etchings are by notable American printmakers such as John Taylor Arms, Louis Rosenberg, and others. A handful are in their original portfolios, as published by the Society of American Graphic Artists.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11568
Title
Amory Leland Williams watercolors and etchings
Date
1921-1957
Extent
1.5 Linear Feet, 2 boxes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Assembled by architect and artist Amory Leland Williams, this collection of 36 artworks is arranged in two series: watercolor drawings by Williams, painted from 1923 to 1939; and a group of etchings and one lithograph by various noted American artists, dating from 1921 to 1957, collected by Williams. The prints range in size from 4 3/4 x 6 1/2 to 13 3/4 x 20 inches, with most measuring roughly 12x19 inches.

The watercolors are scenes from southern France (near Grasse) and Italy (Rome, Sicily, Stresa, Venice), probably painted during a trip in or before 1923; there are also some scenes from southern California and the American or Mexican desert, the latest of which is dated 1939. In Europe, Williams captured the brilliant colors of the Mediterranean, focusing on architectural details of Greek temples, churches, barns, canals, monuments, and fountains. Many pieces are signed, dated, and titled. One shows the Vittorio Emanuele monument in Rome under construction in 1923. Another, a small pastel caricature, is titled "Impression of the Kaiser" also from 1923.

The 10 etchings and one lithograph are by notable American printmakers such as John Taylor Arms (2 prints, one of which is inscribed at length to Williams), Louis Rosenberg (3 prints), and one each by Carl Schultheiss, Victoria Hutson Huntley, Richard Bishop, Warren Davis, and Don Sucuum. A handful are in their large original portfolios with an explanatory title sheet, as published by the Society of American Etchers, later known as the Society of American Graphic Artists (1952).

More Biographical / Historical Info

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Amory Leland Williams watercolors and etchings, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Watercolors and etchings, 1923-1949 and undated
(15 items, 4 folders, 12 watercolors; 1 pastel; 2 prints)

Chiefly scenes from Italy and France; also includes one small pastel caricature entitled "Impression of the Kaiser," 1923. Most of the items measure approximately 11x19 inches.

Box 1
Watercolors and etchings, 1921-1957
(21 items)
Box 2
 

Historical Note

Amory Leland Williams was born December 14, 1892 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. As a child and young adult he spent much of his time at the large Williams family residence in Vermont. He graduated from Williams College in 1914, then during World War I served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 318th Engineers, Company A in France. He received a Masters degree in architecture from MIT in 1921. Subsequently he studied at the Academy in Rome for one year, 1921-1922. He was also an accomplished amateur watercolorist, and collected artwork. During his professional career he lived in Cleveland, Ohio and Los Angeles, California, among other places. He died on December 24, 1956, in Englewood, New Jersey, and is buried in Woodstock, Vermont, his final residence.


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Provenance

The Amory Leland Williams collection of watercolors and etchings was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & script Library as a transfer in 2017.

Processing Information

Processed and described by Paula Jeannet, February 2018.

Accession(s) described in this collection guide: 2017-0090.