William Alexander Sharp Biography

William Alexander Sharp




William Alexander Sharp, painter, printmaker, designer and teacher, was born on 4 June 1864 in Taunton, England to Julia Hatchwell Sharp and the artist Frank Sharp. The Sharp family may have immigrated to the United States as early as 1867. Frank Sharp was well aware of the artistic talent of his son and sent William back to England where he studied art in Wales. When he returned, his family had moved to Atchison City, Kansas where his father was selling a new product, barbed wire. William commenced his art studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago, Illinois and then moved to DeLand, Florida where he taught for ten years at the Stetson University.

By 1905, William A. Sharp was living and working in the Washington, D.C. area and was a member of the Washington Water Color Club and the Society of Washington Artists. He moved west in 1907, settling in Alhambra, California where he joined the architect, William Douglas Tollerton, and his cousin in establishing their architectural firm. They were instrumental in designing and decorating the Mission Inn in Riverside, California for which William designed many of the stained glass windows. Sharp was also associated with the architect Arthur Benton of Los Angeles. In 1908, Benton wrote a twenty-nine-page book, The Mission Inn, which was illustrated by Sharp.

Sharp worked in drawing, painting, etching, monotype, metal work and stained glass. He taught for five years at the Occidental College and was a member of the California Art Club and the Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles.

His work was featured in the second annual exhibition of the California Art Club in 1911, a solo exhibition of his work was mounted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1924, and he was included in the 1939 Northwest Printmakers exhibition. A monotype by Sharp was included in the 1997 book and exhibition, Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America, presented by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

William Alexander Sharp died in Alhambra, California on 26 August 1944.