William R. Hollingsworth Jr.

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William R. Hollingsworth Jr.
Born February 17, 1910
Jackson, Mississippi
Died August 1, 1944 (1944-09) (aged 34)
Jackson, Mississippi
Nationality American
Occupation Painter
Spouse(s) Jane Oakley Hollingsworth
Children 1

William R. Hollingsworth Jr. (February 17, 1910 - August 1, 1944) was an American painter.


Early life[edit]

William R. Hollingsworth Jr. was born on February 17, 1910 in Jackson, Mississippi.[1] His father was William Hollingsworth Sr., and his mother, Willie Belle Van Zile Hollingsworth; she died when he was less than one year old.[1] He attended public schools and the First Baptist Church in Jackson[1] and the University of Mississippi for two years and then transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, graduating in 1934.[1]


He returned to Jackson, Mississippi after failing to find work in Chicago during the Great Depression.[1] He worked for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration during the day and painted at night.[1] Later, his wife worked as a dressmaker to support them while he focused on being a full-time painter.[1] In 1942, during the Second World War, he tried to enlist in the United States Navy, but his application was rejected due to "poor eyesight" within two weeks.[1]

As a painter, he painted many oil paintings and watercolors. In terms of style, he was inspired by French impressionist painters Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Henri Matisse (1869–1954).[1] Many of his paintings showed the lives of black people in West Jackson during segregation.[1] He painted the Mississippi landscape, and sunsets and sunrises.[1] He won prizes from the Chicago Arts Club, the Southern States Art League and the National Watercolor Society.

Some of his paintings are exhibited at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, Mississippi.[2] Author Eudora Welty (1909–2001) wrote a book about him, published posthumously in 2002.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Jane (Oakley) Hollingsworth, from Moline, Illinois.[1] They had a son, Billy.[1]

After years of depression and alcoholism, he committed suicide on August 1, 1944, at the age of thirty-four.[1]

Selected paintings[edit]

  • Siesta (1937).[1]
  • Sudden Shower (1937).[1]
  • High Farish (1941).[1]
  • Brown and Wet (1942).[1]
  • December (1943).[1]
  • The Ice-Covered Tree (1943).[1]
  • Ah, the Mystery of a Southern Night (1943).[1]

Secondary sources[edit]

  • Hollingsworth, Jane Oakley (ed.), and O. C. McDavid (ed.), Hollingsworth: The Man, the Artist, and His Work (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1981).[1]
  • Welty, Eudora, On William Hollingsworth (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2002).[1]
  • Dietrick, Robin C, and Gruber, J. Richard, To Paint and Pray: The Art and Life of William R. Hollingsworth, Jr. (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2012).[3]