Wheeler Williams

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Commerce and Communications, 1935, Pediment of Environmental Protection Agency Building (former Interstate Commerce Commission), Federal Triangle, Washington, DC
Muse of the Missouri, 1960, detail of fountain sculpture in Kansas City, Missouri.

Wheeler Williams (November 30, 1897 – August 12, 1972) was an American sculptor, born in Chicago, Illinois.

Life and career[edit]

Williams studied sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He attended Yale where he graduated Magna cum Laude in 1919. He received a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard in 1922. Williams studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

He was one of a dozen sculptors invited to compete in the Pioneer Woman statue competition in 1927.,[1] which he failed to win. His model for that competition was later enlarged, cast and placed in front of the public library in Liberty, Kansas.

Williams was a recipient of a Gould Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1937. He was a member of the National Academy, past president of the Fine Arts Federation of New York, and longtime president of the National Sculpture Society. Wheeler was also the founder and president of the American Artist Professional League.

Political involvement[edit]

Williams was a supporter of the House Un-American Activities Committee's search for communist "reds" in the arts. He also protested the Congressional censure of Joseph McCarthy.

Williams also served on the jury for the Alger Hiss treason trial.

Very active in Republican circles, many of Williams' commissions reflect his conservative positions (for example the Robert A. Taft Memorial in Washington, DC).

Public monuments[edit]


  • "Questioning 'Modern'", August 23, 1942, New York Times
  • "Petition Drive Set To Back McCarthy", November 15, 1954, New York Times
  • "Hiss Offers Not Guilty Plea", December 17, 1948, New York Times
  • Goode, James M. The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington D.C., Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 1974
  • Gurney, George, Sculpture and the Federal Triangle, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. 1985
  1. ^ Exhibition of Models for a Monument to the Pioneer Woman at the Chicago Architectural Exhibition, East Galleries, Art Institute of Chicago, June 25 to August 1, 1927
  2. ^ http://www.brooksmuseum.org/outdoorsculpture