Born in Byron, Illinois, Wilson Henry Irvine became an Impressionist landscape painter, who exhibited for many years at the Art Institute of Chicago and then became a part of the Art Colony at Old Lyme, Connecticut. He also did monotypes called aqua prints that were abstract in style compared to his other paintings.
Wilson Henry Irvine enrolled in an art school run by Liberty Walkup, inventor of the airbrush. In 1893, he was employed by the Chicago Portrait Company and took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago between 1895 and 1903. By 1900, he began exhibiting at the Institute and also was close to the Hoosier Group, Indiana Impressionist artists.
He spent the summer of 1914 in Connecticut and became associated with the Old Lyme Colony. In 1918, Wilson Henry Irvine moved there permanently, but he maintained close ties to the Midwest.