William Thompson Walters
|William Thompson Walters|
William T. Walters in 1883 by french artist Léon Bonnat.
May 23, 1820
|Died||November 22, 18941
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Resting place||Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore|
|Residence||Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|Known for||Art Collector|
|Spouse(s)||Ellen Harper Walters (1822-1862)|
|Children||Henry Walters (1848-1931) Jennie Walters Delano (1853-1922)|
William Thompson Walters (May 23, 1820 - November 22, 1894) was an American businessman and art collector, whose collection formed the basis of the Walters Art Museum.
He was born in Liverpool, Pennsylvania in 1820. He was educated as a civil engineer, but became interested in the coal and iron industry, and while in charge of a smelting establishment in Pennsylvania produced the first iron manufactured from mineral coal in the United States. He moved to Baltimore in 1841, where he worked as a grain merchant and in 1847 established himself there as a liquor wholesaler.
His success in business secured, he turned to art collection, purchasing contemporary American and European works. During the American Civil War, he lived in Paris. He traveled widely in Europe the interest of art, and purchased numerous additions for his collection. Returning to the United States after the end of hostilities, and putting his money into banking and railroads. He also began to collect Asian art, alongside contemporary paintings. His private collection became one of the largest and most valuable in the United States.
From 1874 onwards, Walters opened his house in Mount Vernon Place to the public most springs, with a 50 cent entrance fee going towards charity. This annual exhibit of his gallery netted $30,000 for the poor of Baltimore. He was United States commissioner at the Paris expositions of 1867 and 1878, and also to that at Vienna in 1873.
At his death in 1894, Walters' collection passed to his son, Henry Walters, who expanded it and founded the Walters Gallery (now the Walters Art Museum).
Among his writings are:
- Barye (1885)
- Notes Upon Certain Masters of the 19th Century (1886)
- William R. Johnston, William and Henry Walters: The Reticent Collectors (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: William Thompson Walters|
- The History of the Walters Art Museum, includes biography of Walters
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