William Graham was an American landscape painter who spent most of his life and artistic career abroad. He was born in California in 1832. Little is known about Graham’s early life; however, it is known that in 1849 he sought fortune in California, moving to San Francisco.
Graham initially learned to make watches and jewelry before developing an interest in art. He traveled abroad to study art in Paris and London and spent some time painting in Egypt as well. It wasn’t until his studies towards the middle of his life that he began to take his painting seriously] Graham settled in Italy for many years and painted landscapes and architecture, primarily of Rome and Venice. Graham also spent time in Capri, near his friends and fellow artists Elihu Vedder and Charles Caryl Coleman, with whom he shared a studio.
Despite living abroad, many of Graham’s paintings were exhibited throughout the United States over the course of his career. His paintings Venetian Lagoon, Venetian Sunset, and Winter Campagna were featured in the National Academy in the winter of 1873. His works were also exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and the 1878 Mechanics’ Fair in Boston.
Graham moved back to Buffalo for the last year of his life. He worked as an artist for the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser and also exhibited shortly with the Buffalo Society of Artists] Graham died in 1911. Shortly after his death,his estate was sold at the Albright Art Gallery, which made his workreadily available in Western New York. His works have been included in multiple catalogs, including the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy catalog (1913) and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts catalog of paintings (1921), and are in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and the Buffalo AKG Art Museum.