William Hancock Wilke Biography

William Hancock Wilke




William Hancock Wilke (1879-1958), painter, printmaker, designer and illustrator, was born in San Francisco on June 1, 1879. He studied with Arthur Mathews at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute in San Francisco and continued his studies in Paris at Académie Julian with Jean-Paul Laurens. Wilke returned to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1905, living in Berkeley and Palo Alto and worked as a designer in gold and silver for Shreve’s for over thirty years.

Wilke was a member of the California Society of Miniature Painters, California Society of Etchers, California Print Makers, San Francisco Art Association, and the Bohemian Club. He created illuminations and bookplates for the press of John Henry Nash as well as drawings, watercolors and etchings of scenes of San Francisco and environs. His work was exhibited at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Oakland Art Gallery and Golden Gate International Exposition.

William Wilke died in Palo Alto, California on June 18, 1958. The William Hancock Wilke archive is held in the Department of Special Collections at the Library of the University of California, Santa Barbara.