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Will Sparks

(1862-1937)

Painter of the California Missions

Under Construction




Will Sparks was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of twelve, he sold his first work: a black-and-white sketch. He studied at the St. Louis Medical College, but chose to become an artist instead of a practicing physician. He went first to the St. Louis School of Fine Arts and in Paris, studied at the Academies Julian and Colarossi. After his return to St. Louis and subsequent exhibition in the St. Louis Expo of 1886, he moved west, living in Cincinnati and Denver, before moving permanently to California in 1888. There he worked as a writer/illustrator for newspapers and taught anatomy while establishing himself as an professional artist in San Francisco.
Collections (partial list from WPA's "California Art Research"):
Bohemian Club, San Francisco
De Young Museum, San Francisco
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
Sonoma Mission State Museum, Sonoma, California
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
Honolulu Art Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii
Professional Organizations:
American Federation of the Arts
Bohemian Club (1891-1937)
Book Club of California (Secretary 1912-1915)
California Society of Etchers, charter member, 1913
San Francisco Art Association (from 1894)
Sequoia Club of California
University of California, faculty member (1904-1908)