Adele Williams

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Adele Williams (February 24, 1868 – 1952) was an American artist who was one of the earliest Impressionist painters in Virginia.[1]


Adele Williams was born in Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of John H. Williams.[2] Graduating high school at the age of 15, she went to New York in 1886 to study at the Woman's Art School of Cooper Union and the Art Students' League.[2] She also studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, where she won the Prix Concours medal.[3]

Williams worked in oil, watercolor, pastel, and mezzotint, painting landscapes, still lifes, and harbor and street scenes in an Impressionist style. She exhibited work at the Paris Salon[3] during her stay in France, and after her return to the United States she showed at the American Watercolor Society, the Art Club of Philadelphia, and elsewhere.[2] A number of her portraits are cataloged by the Catalogue of American Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, including a 1902 self-portrait and a 1903 portrait of Ellen Axson Wilson, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson.[4] Her portrait of judge John W. Riely hangs in the Virginia Supreme Court,[5] and her portrait of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury is owned by the University of Virginia.[6]


  1. ^ Kelly, James C., et al. The Virginia Landscape: A Cultural History. HOwell Press, 2000.
  2. ^ a b c Willard, Frances E., and Mary A. Livermore, eds. A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-Seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life. Moulton, 1893.
  3. ^ a b Bayliss, Mary Lynn. The Dooleys of Richmond: An Irish Immigrant Family in the Old and New South. By Mary Lynn Bayliss
  4. ^ "Adele Williams". National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
  5. ^ Virginia State Library Publications, no. 43, p. 102.
  6. ^ Patton, John Shelton, et. al., eds. Jefferson's University: Glimpses of the Past and Present of the University, p. 39.