American portrait painter William McGregor Paxton, born in Baltimore, Maryland began his art studies at the Cowles Art School in Boston, Massachusetts where he had been awarded a scholarship. Within a few years, he was able to travel overseas to Paris and study at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts under painter and sculpture Jean-Léon Gérôme. By the late 1800’s, William Paxton returned to Boston to teach at the Cowles Art School. Inspired by artist Johannes Vermeer, Paxton became known for his extraordinary attention to the effects of light and detail in the skin tones, scenery and fabric in his work. He used the effect of focusing on one point in his paintings with a blurred effect throughout the rest of the composition.
William McGregor Paxton passed away at the age of 72 at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. He co-founded the Guild of Boston Artists and his portrait paintings include Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Grover Cleveland. His art now appears at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The National Academy and Museum School, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey; and numerous others.