William Robinson Leigh

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William Robinson Leigh


Rocks at Lukenya Hills, Africa

Oil on Canvas

22 x 33 inches

Signed Lower Right

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William Robinson Leigh (1866-1955) was one of the foremost American painters of natural scenery and wild life.  Born in 1866 in Berkeley County, West Virginia, he spent much of his boyhood living outdoors, hunting birds and animals, fishing, tramping, farming, and studying and painting nature in all its aspects at all seasons.  He then studied art at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore and lived for twelve years in Munich where he continued his studies at the Royal Academy, winning medals for three years in succession and receiving an honorable mention in the Paris Salon of 1892.  He began his career in 1896 as an illustrator for Scribners and Colliers in New York.  In 1906, he made his first trip out West and painted the Grand Canyon for the Santa Fe Railroad Co. Five more paintings were commissioned and although he eventually returned to New York, he continued to paint out West whenever possible.  He accompanied the Carl Akeley Expedition to Africa in 1926-27 and the Clark-Carlisle Expedition to make sketches for the backgrounds of the African animal-habitat groups in the American Museum of Natural History of New York.  From 1932 to 1935 he worked as master painter in the famous African Hall of the museum.  By the 1940’s, Leigh had received national recognition as a leader in Western art. 


Maryland Inst. with Hugh Newell, 1880-83; Royal Acad., Munich, with Raupp, 1883-84, Gysis, 1885-86, Loefftz, 1887; Lindenscmid, 1891-92.


Allied Artists Am.; SC; Author’s Lg.; AWCS.


Paris Salon, 1892; NAD, 1894-1900; Royal., Munich (med.); Corcoran Gal. Biennials, 1910, 1914; Appalachian Expo, Knoxville, TN, 1911 (prize); AIC; Babcock gal. (solo); Grand Central Art Gal., 1939, 1941, 1944 (solos); Gumps Gal., San Fran., 1944 (solo); Wash. County Mus. FA, 1950, 1952 (solos); Maryland Inst., Balt., 1950 (solo); Gerald Peters Gal., NYC, 1998 (solo, African paintings of 1926).


Phillips Mus., Bartlesville, OK; African Hall, AMNH; Munich; Washington & Lee Univ.; Nayasset Club, Springfield, MA; Huntington (NY) Mus. FA; 534 oils and 344 charcoals in Gilcrease Inst., Tulsa, OK: AMNH, NYC; Acad. Of Natural Sciences, Phila.