William Matthews was born in 1949 in New York City. He grew up in the Bay Area. His professional career began in Los Angeles, designing album covers for Warner Bros. and Capitol Records. He lived in Europe from 1975 to 1980. Upon his return to Colorado, he ran a graphic design studio until 1990 when he dedicated himself full time to painting.
He is most well known for his portrayal of the working cowboys from the great ranches of the American west. The 1994 published monograph, Cowboys & Images: The Watercolors of William Matthews, chronicles a decade of the artist’s work devoted to this subject. In the fall of 2007, Chronicle Books of San Francisco released a second monograph dedicated to the subject matter entitled, William Matthews: Working the West.
Commissioned projects have included cover artwork and story illustrations for the book Close Range, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Proulx, a series of six large scale watercolors, Colorado Pioneers, installed at the Colorado Convention Center, and the 1994 United States Postal Service commemorative Postal Card Canyon de Chelly, from the series, America the Beautiful.
Education: San Francisco Art Institute; artistically educated by his mother; painted throughout Europe, North Africa, Egypt, China, and India.
Selected Publications: Cowboys & Images: The Watercolors of William Matthews, 1994; William Matthews: Working the West, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2007.
Exhibition Catalogs: Gamble Ranch Granary, 2012; Hats & Headwear, 2008; Yellowstone, 2007; Italy, 2006; Canyon de Chelly, 2005; Scotland; The Highlands & Islands, 2003; A Wet Line: Fly Fishing on the Rivers of North America, 2002; Land of the Rajput, 2001; Buckaroos of the Great Basin, 2000; Fast Horses, 1999; Ireland, 1997; Heart Land: Watercolors of the Amish and Mennonite and Shaker Villages, 1996; China, 1995; The Blue Nile, 1993; Sketches of Spain, 1992.
Selected Collections: Joslyn Museum, Omaha; Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa; Warner Western Records, Nashville; Autry National Center, Museum of the American West, Los Angeles; Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia; Buffalo Bill Historical Center and Museum, Cody; National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City; Old West Museum, Cheyenne; Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis; Phoenix Art Museum; Tucson Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum.
Representation: William Matthews Studio; Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Simpson Gallagher Gallery, Cody, WY.