American artist William J. McClosky studied under the renowned realist Thomas Eakins and American portrait artist Christian Schussele at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1877-1882. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he moved to Denver, Colorado following his study’s and began teaching at the Denver Academy of Art where he met artist Alberta Binford whom he married in 1883.
Both focused on portraits and still life painting and together the following year they set up a portrait studio in Los Angeles. By 1886, both had become very prominent and successful among the artists in Los Angeles. They moved to New York where they worked independently as well as collaborated with their art focused on still life paintings, both fruits and floral of rich contrast and deep colors. McClosky and his wife set up a studio at 58 West 57th Street near Central Park and the center of the art district. They had a successful exhibit at the National Academy of Design Annual Exhibition in 1888. McClosky also participated in exhibitions such as the Prize Fund exhibitions, The American Art Galleries, and the American Watercolor Society.
William McClosky traveled extensively throughout his career from San Francisco to New York as well as London and Paris. By 1924, McClosky retired to his daughter’s home in Oregon. By the 1940’s he had returned to California and passed away in December 1941. William McClosky’s paintings are relatively rare today. He is best known for citrus fruit wrapped in tissue paper in the trompe l’oeil manner. His work in included in the collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, California Historical Society, and Hudson River Museum.