Scott, William Edouard – American Artist – Indiana

William Edouard Scott (1884-1964)

Born in Indianapolis, William Edouard Scott attended Emmerich Manual High School where he was under the artistic tutelage of Otto Stark, one of Indiana’s most prominent artists of the day. After graduation he would help Stark teach drawing to freshmen, thus becoming the first black person to teach in a public high school in Indianapolis. Enrollment at the Art Institute of Chicago led to mural commissions for several Chicago and Washington DC public schools. Like the majority of artists of the day, an art education was not considered complete until instruction had been taken in Europe. In 1909 and 1911 Scott traveled to France where he would be mentored by Henry Ossawa Tanner, one of the leading black American artists of the day. France was successful artistically for Scott and he returned to Indianapolis and commissions to paint murals in the city’s public schools in 1912.

The next two decades would be fruitful for Scott, having numerous exhibitions, and winning many awards and commissions. In 1931 Scott was awarded a fellowship to study in Haiti. Spending more than a year there, he painted over 144 works and was an inspiration to many local artists. Scott’s short visit to this black republic was to have a long-lasting and profound effect on him and he would continue to draw on Haitian subject matter for many years to come. In Haiti, his preferred subjects were the common people and their everyday activities, dress, customs and lifestyles. One custom, popular with men, was the Sunday afternoon cockfight, and Scott would render this subject in both painting and mural form. By 1934 the U.S. troops that had been occupying the island since 1915 withdrew, therefore this undated mural was likely executed during Scott’s stay from 1931-32.

Information courtesy of Wickliff & Associates Auctioneers Inc., September 2005.

About This Site

Internet Antique Gazette is brought to you by Prices4Antiques.