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Elliott, William Curtis

United States, 1909-2001
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About this Artist

William Elliott 1909-2001

William Elliott was born April 4, 1909 in Sedalia, Missouri. After his family moved to Dallas, in 1928 he graduated from Dallas’s Sunset High School, and then enrolled at John Tarleton College in Stephenville, Texas where he received a degree in architecture. Upon returning home, in 1931, he enrolled in Olin Travis’s Art Institute of Dallas. He had no money for tuition and, like Everett Spruce before him, cleaned the classrooms at the end of each day in exchange for lessons. He took classes for three years at Travis’ Art Institute cultivating friendships with other Dallas artists which he maintained throughout his career.

After Leaving the Institute, he took on his first full time job as a commercial artist, creating artwork for the Interstate Theater chain. He was provided a studio by Interstate in the Melba Theater Building. When he was not working on a project for Interstate, he would look out his window for passersby that he might be able to do convince to sit for him. He learned this technique for finding inexpensive sitters while at the Art Institute. While in the depths of the depression, most people were willing to sit for whatever Elliott was able to pay.

During this time, Elliott frequently worked in the field alongside his friends Reid Crowell, William Lester, Reveau Bassett, and Otis Dozier. They sketched and painted at locations throughout Dallas, and the surrounding rural areas together. Although he was friends with many of the Dallas Regionalist artists, he was not considered a Regionalist by the group because he made his living as a commercial artist. Amusingly, over the next 10 years, he exhibited his work alongside theirs during the Texas State Fair in Dallas’ competitive Allied Arts Exhibitions held in the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, and at the Carnegie Library in Fort Worth.

During World War II, Elliott served as a staff artist with the U. S. Army Air Corps. Elliott returned to Dallas after the war and opened his own studio. He built a successful business serving the advertising and commercial artwork needs of numerous corporate clients.

Because he had been so successful as a commercial artist, in the mid-1960’s he retired so he could devote himself full time to his first love – watercolor. To further his skill set, he went to the Art Students League in NYC to study with Robert Angelock and to Woodstock to study with Stefan Lokos.

Over the next 30 years, he became one of Dallas’s best known and most accomplished watercolor artists. His paintings draw on observations from trips through Spain, Portugal, Colorado, Maine, and along the Texas Gulf coast. He was a long-term member of the Southwestern Watercolor Society, and during his career, exhibited in over 100 juried art exhibitions, winning over forty awards. His works can be found in the collections of Diamond Shamrock Corporation, Southwestern Bell Telephone, John Deere Corporation, and numerous other corporate and private collections.


William Curtis Elliott 1909-2001

American Watercolor Society
New York Watercolor Club
International Print Show
Wichita Centennial National Exhibition
Texas Watercolor Society
Texas Fine Arts Association
Montalvo Museum at Saratoga, California
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts State Fair Centennial Exhibit
Southern Texas Art League

Note: Elliott participated in organizational exhibitions multiple times.

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts Allied Arts Shows
Southwestern Watercolor Society juried Exhibits
Shreveport Regional Juried Show
Ketchikan, Alaska National Show
Mobile, Alabama Regional Show

Collections include:
Philadelphia Art Museum
John Van Akin Collection, Mobile, Alabama
Dallas Museum of Art
Jerry Bywaters Collection on Art of the Southwest, SMU
University of Texas Law School, Austin, Texas
Abilene Art Museum
Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas
Torch Energy Art Collection, Houston, Texas
A.C. Cook, Fort Worth, Texas
David Dempsey, Dallas, Texas
Samuel Blain, Jr., Dallas, Texas
Dallas Federal Savings and Loan Association
Texas Instruments
Diamond Shamrock Association, World Headquarters
Frito-Lay, Inc.
John Deere Corporation
Republic National Bank
Mercantile National Bank
Rockwall International
Texas Credit Union
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
Texas Power and Light Cokmpan
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