William Woodward, a third-generation native Washingtonian, is among America’s most sought-after and admired classically trained painters (the Florentine Accademia di Belli Arti, the Corcoran School, and The American University). The recipient of multiple awards and commissions, Woodward’s works have been acquired by museums, as well as scores of corporate, public and private collections. Woodward, as director of George Washington University’s MFA program in Studio Arts for more than thirty years, has mentored three generations of artists in the techniques of the great masters, and is a popular guest speaker at prestigious venues such as the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Woodward has been called a “virtuoso, a painter’s painter” by Rafael Squirru, former Cultural Director of the Organization of American States. Benjamin Forgey, art critic of The Washington Post, observed, “ [Woodward’s] paintings are alive with knowledge, translated from eye to hand…. It’s really wonderful what he can do. His ability to draw, his feeling for the figure in space, his understanding of dramatic situations – his skills have kept developing in the 25 years that I’ve observed him.” The highly respected artist and TV commentator, Bill Dunlap, voiced the opinion of many fellow artists: “I admire him and think him the best pure painter of our generation!”
Notable among permanent museum collections, his work can be found in the National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Collection, Washington, DC; the John and Mable Ringling Museum, Sarasota, Florida; the Speed Museum, Lexington, Kentucky; The Huntington Library and Museum, San Marino, California; the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, Maryland; the Ogunquit Museum of Fine Arts, Ogunquit, Maine; and the Katzen Museum of Art of The American University, Washington, DC.
Some of his important commissions are Murals in public spaces, including: The Great Odyssey of Medicine, Fairfax, VA; The Greatest Show on Earth, Sarasota, FL; Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, Charlottesville, VA; Abraham Lincoln at the Soldier’s Home, Washington, DC; A Loudon County Story, Leesburg, VA; The Memorial Day Parade, Rockville, MD; and Idyllic Scenes, Tyson’s Corner, VA.
William Woodward is the only artist ever to design both the obverse and reverse of a United States coin, as winner of the invitational design competition for the silver dollar minted in 1989 by the U.S Treasury, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Congress.
Among his other awards, in 1991, the Departement de Finistére (Brittany) awarded him First Prize in the Concours de la Peinture en Plein-Aire. In 1995; the Society of the Four Arts Museum in Palm Beach, FL awarded First Prize to his painting, Avarice, in the 49th Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Art.