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William A. Berry Edit Profile

artist , educator

William A. Berry, American artist, educator. Fellow, MacDowell Colony, 1984, Carmago Foundation, France, 1989, Rockefeller Foundation, Italy, 1988. Member of Colored Pencil Society of America.


Berry, William A. was born on September 29, 1933 in Jacksonville, Texas, United States. Son of William Lafayette and Esther Cory Berry.


He earned a BFA at the University of Texas, Austin in 1955 and an MFA from the University of Southern California in 1957.


Subsequently, he worked as an illustrator and painter in New York City. In 1968, Berry began teaching art at the University of Texas, Austin, where he became the first Art Director of Texas Monthly Magazine. While teaching at UT Austin, he wrote his seminal textbook: Drawing The Human Form, a book widely adopted by art departments across the country and cited as "excellent" by Ernst Gombrich.

From 1974-78, he taught graphic design and illustration at Boston University, School of Visual Arts. He served as chair for the department from 1995-1999. The University of Missouri, in recognition of his scholarship and professional reputation, made him a Curators’ Professor in 1991.

He retired in 1999 as Curators’ Professor of Art Emeritus, a title he held for life. Among the galleries that showed his work are: the Galleria Schneider, Rome, Italy. The Muscarelle Museum of Art, Williamsburg, VA.

USIA Gallery, Athens, Greece. Espace Reduit, Cassis, France. And the Charles Campbell Gallery, San Francisco.

Public collections owning his work include: the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Addison Gallery, Andover, MA. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. The Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, New Castle, PA. And Hallmark, Kansas City, MO. Publications of Berry’s illustrations, in a wide variety of media and styles, have been featured in various periodicals, such as: The Reporter, Harpers, The New Leader, Esquire, Holiday Magazine, and Newsweek.

He created covers for books published by Random House, Doubleday, Alfred A. Knopf, Scribner’s Sons, Time Inc., and others. Among the books illustrated by Berry are: On Firm Ice, Journey to the Arctic, Still Quiet on the Western Front, and Kennedy Without Tears. He has twice been profiled in the American Artist Magazine and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art.

Berry’s awards include: fellowships and artist-in-residencies at the Altos de Chavon Foundation, Dominican Republic. The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH. The Rockefeller Foundation, Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy.

Lacoste School of the Arts, France. Montalvo Center for the Arts, CA. And the Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France.

During these residencies, Berry, utilizing colored pencils, a cross-hatching technique and limited palette, created a series of still-life drawings focusing on the effect of light on geometric solids, which he constructed from paper. Drawing the solids axonometrically in order to "distance the viewer," Berry introduced objects from everyday life such as knives, pencils, or fruit, into his compositions. Berry wrote that the "geometric solids represent an intrusion of the ideal form of a truly Platonic type into the real world of objects.... a visual event that I find poetic and intriguing.

It is the underlying theme in many of my drawings and is intended to make a metaphysical statement." Artist’s website:.


  • In 1978, he became Professor of Art at the University of Missouri, Columbia where he was given the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Faculty Research and Creative Activity, 1983, and named a William H. Byler Distinguished Professor in 1989. Berry’s artwork has been in over 500 exhibitions, in the U.S. and abroad, receiving over 100 awards and prizes. In 2002, he received the CPSA Award for Exceptional Merit and CIPPY Trophy from the Colored Pencil Society of America.



Member of Colored Pencil Society of America.


Married Janet Rollins Berry, December 12, 1970.

William Lafayette

Esther Cory Berry

Janet Rollins Berry