Artist Bio

Early Fine Art Dealers specializes in valuing and purchasing important paintings from the 17th century through the early 20th century. Our buyers are in constant search for fine works of art and paintings, spanning the globe for original well-known Old Master, European, American, and early California art. Each year we preview and participate in hundreds of private sales, art shows, gallery showings, exhibitions and auctions. We are in constant search for fine works to purchase. Please contact us today to discuss the sale of one of your paintings. Please note that our gallery only deals with original paintings. No Prints Please.

WE ARE DEALERS OF ORIGINAL PAINTINGS: To contact one of our gallery fine art experts about selling your painting or buying paintings for your collection, complete the form below. Please note that our gallery only deals with original paintings. NO PRINTS PLEASE.

William Keith (1838 - 1911)

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland on Nov. 21, 1838, William Keith immigrated with his family to New York in 1850 and as a teenager was apprenticed to a wood engraver. After a trip to Scotland and England he moved to San Francisco in 1859 and began working in the engraving shop of Harrison Eastman. He later established his own engraving business with Durbin Van Vleck. William Keith became interested in painting and first studied with Samuel Brookes in 1863. The following year he married artist Elizabeth Emerson and under her direction he began painting in watercolor. By 1868, William Keith gave up engraving to devote all of his time to painting.

The following year the Keiths were in Dusseldorf where William Keith studied painting with Flamm and Achenbach. He visited the galleries and museums of Dresden and Paris and upon his return to the U.S. he established a painting studio in Boston.

William Keith returned to San Francisco in 1872 and soon joined the Bohemian Club and began exhibiting paintings. Keith met naturalist John Muir who took him into the most remote parts of Yosemite and taught him the names of the trees and plants. His wife died in 1882, and one year later William Keith married Mary McHenry who was the first woman to graduate from Hastings Law School.

In 1883, William Keith made another trip to Europe to study portraiture painting with Carl Marr in Munich. He stayed there for three years and when he returned to California he settled in Berkeley where he would live the rest of his life. William Keith commuted daily by ferry to his San Francisco painting studio and many of his later works are pastoral landscape paintings of Berkeley with oak trees, cows and ponds. William Keith was a prolific artist and painted nearly 4,000 oil paintings of which 2,000 burned in the fire of 1906.

The paintings of William Keith can be divided into two periods: his early paintings are often grand mountain scenes that depict the Dusseldorf School of realism. During the last two decades of his life, his paintings depict the Barbizon School of painting as the works are darker and smaller with emphasis on mood.

William Keith died on April 13, 1911.


1872-94 (medals), California State Fair
1872-1911San Francisco Art Association
1874-1911 (medals) Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco
1882 National Academy of Design
1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Illinois
1894 California Midwinter Exposition
1901 (bronze medal) Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York
1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition, Portland, Oregon
1907-12 Del Monte Art Gallery
1909 (gold medal) Alaska-Yukon Exposition, Seattle, Washington


The Hearst Art Gallery - Moraga, California
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas - Beaumont, Texas

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