William Seltzer Rice Biography

William Seltzer Rice




William Seltzer Rice, painter, printmaker, educator, and author, was born to Sarah Graeff Seltzer and John Maurer Rice on June 23, 1873 in Manheim, Pennsylvania. He moved to Philadelphia in the fall of 1892 to attend the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art and was awarded a three-year scholarship to the school the following year. In June of 1894, Rice received a Certificate in Industrial Drawings and the following June he received a Certificate in Decorative Painting and Applied Design.

After graduating in 1895, Rice was hired as staff artist for the Philadelphia Times but continued taking classes with Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute. In August 1900, on the invitation of his friend and former cohort Frederick H. Meyer - who would later found the California School of Arts and Crafts (CCA) - he took a job as Assistant Art Supervisor in the Stockton Public Schools in California. It was at this time that he first visited Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and other California landscapes that would be a continual source of inspiration to Rice.

Ten years later Rice relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, seeking an opportunity to become more involved in one of the West Coast's leading Arts and Crafts hubs. He was a part of the Berkeley Art Colony and participated in their Exhibition of California Artists show at the Hillside Club in 1911. After touring Europe in the summer of 1913, he expanded his exposure to printmaking techniques, and that year he took a course in woodblock techniques taught by Ralph H. Johonnot, an associate of Arthur Wesley Dow. As well, he pursued intaglio printmaking, working in drypoint and etching to produce images of his adopted county. Two years later, he found further inspiration in the Japanese woodcuts shown at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition. This cemented his desire to become a woodcut artist, and in 1918 he held his first major exhibition of linocuts and woodcuts at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco. In 1933, he was awarded "Best Print" by the California Society of Etchers.

While working as an artist and exhibiting, Rice continued to teach in the Alameda Public Schools as well as summer courses at the CCA and extension courses at UC Berkeley. He would remain an educator for thirty years, teaching painting, drawing, woodcut, metalworking, and leatherworking. In 1929, he received his BFA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts (now the California College of the Arts). That same year he published his book, Block Printing in the Schools; he would later publish Block Prints: How to Make Them (1941). 
 He counted Pedro de Lemos, Gustave Baumann, Roi Partridge, and the Gearhart sisters among his major influences. 

Rice was a member of the Print Makers Society of California, California Society of Etchers, Prairie Printmakers, Northwest Printmakers, and the San Francisco Art Association. He exhibited with the California Water Color Society, Association of American Etchers, Print Club of Philadelphia, and the Wichita Art Association. His work is represented in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Boston Public Library, Fitzwilliam Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, New York Public Library, Oakland Museum of California, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Worcester Art Museum.

William Seltzer Rice died at his home in Oakland, California on August 27, 1963.