Artist Biographies

William Staples Drown

1856 – 1915
Birthplace: Dorchester, Massachusetts

In his lifetime, Drown was one of the most widely known of New England artists. This recognition was achieved after many years of intense personal study and widespread travel in the pursuit of artistic advancement. Much of Drown’s art instruction came under the watchful eyes of Appleton Brown, a prominent Boston artist known for his New England Landscapes. Travel to and studies in Europe and the southern United States were a continues source of refinement and critique throughout his lifetime. Drown achieved acclaim as a member of the Providence art colony, where fellow artists such as Sydney Burleigh, H. Anthony Dyer, George Whitaker, Stacy Tolman and W. Alden Brown were his colleagues, and as were a leading number of the Ponce De Leon art colony in St. Augustine, Florida. Whenever he chose to travel and paint, Drown’s habit was to seek and work among the area’s best artists. As a result, his development as a painter included both a mastery of craftsmanship and coloring. G. Whitaker noted that Drown, “in a truly poetical way dreamed over his grey day canvas. Few artists have excelled him in this direction.” (Providence Journal, June 8, 1916)

The majority of success W. Staples Drown has was in painting very delicate tints in landscape. His mastery of charm in coloring and quiet atmospheric effects was said to be, “reflective on the man’s own quiet personality.” (Providence Journal, June 8, 1919). Drown was equally known for his water colors and oils. Aside from his active role as a painter in Providence, he also served in many appointed positions at the Providence Art Club and the Providence Water Color Club.

W. Staples Drown’s works are in many private collections and most notably his works hang at the providence Art Club, along with Raydon Gallery and Kennedy Gallery of New York.