David Urquhart Wilcox was an American painter, illustrator, and teacher. His oil and watercolor paintings depicted a wide array of subject matter including portraits, landscapes, African-American culture, WWI posters, figurative works , and genre paintings. Wilcox was born on October 22, 1874, in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Yale University, where he graduated with a bachelor of philosophy degree in 1895. Upon graduating, he studied briefly at the Art Students League of New York City with George Brant Bridgman (1865-1943).
In 1897, Wilcox moved to Buffalo, and three years later won a scholarship to the Art Students League of Buffalo. He studied with American artist Lucius Wolcott Hitchcock (1868-1942) and furthered his studies on several trips abroad. During the early 1900s, he also practiced lithography and did illustrations for publications such as The Century Magazine, Scribner’s, and The Windsor Magazine. He began exploring other media, delving into portraiture and landscapes in oil.
He taught at the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy from 1904-1908. He returned to the School of Fine Arts (formally the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy) to serve as acting director in 1910. In 1920 he was officially appointed the director of the school, a position he maintained for twenty years. Under his direction, the institute underwent tremendous expansion and became affiliated with both the University of Buffalo and the State Teachers College.
Wilcox exhibited his work regularly throughout his career both in Western New York and nationally. He exhibited with the Buffalo Society of Artists and won numerous awards for his work including the Fellowship Prize (1906), an honorable mention (1907), and the Hengerer First Prize (1911). He was also featured in shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. His works have been exhibited since his death and are in the collections of institutions including the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Buffalo Club, and the Buffalo History Museum.