Born on April 23, 1921 in New York, NY William Brice showed an interest in art at a very early age. Even as a child, he displayed a promising future which was recognized by his family as well as his personal art tutor. was an American artist most well known for his large-scale abstract paintings. While still under the care of his mother, she moved the family to Beverly Hills in order to pursue her own career goals.
Over the span of five years from 1937 to 1942, Brice attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles as well as the Arts Student League of New York in New York City. It was during this time that Brice began to develop his personal style. In the early years of his career, his subject matter consisted of figural and representational themes. Nonetheless, he was very successful in this area of art and was invited to present at his first solo show in 1947 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. A 1950 L.A. Times review of his solo exhibition at the Frank Perls Gallery in Beverly Hills first began to recognize Brice’s transition into abstraction, stating the his still lifes “stress the geometrical aspects of common objects.” Over the next couple decades, Brice began a steady shift towards greater abstraction, while rejecting the then popular movements of Abstract Expressionism and Action Painting. Brice is recognized as an artist who maintained a “classical modernism” while the rest of the art world transitioned with the evolving movements.
In 1948, Brice began his teaching career at the Jepson Art Institute in Los Angeles but soon moved on to begin a long tenure at UCLA. He became a beloved professor and mentored several generations of artists.
At the age of 86, Brice suffered injuries from a fall which he was unable to recover from. He passed at the UCLA Medical Center on March 3, 2008.
Oil on canvas, 1983
18 x 24 inches
Gift of Peter Norton