William Edward Norton

Born in 1843 to a family of Bostonian shipbuilders, William Edward Norton's early childhood included many excursions on the high seas, which later inspired his artistic production. After his sea service as a young man, he enrolled at both Harvard Medical School and the Lowell Institute. At Lowell, Norton developed a strong interest in art and began studying with George Inness, whose own poetic style deeply influenced the young artist.

In the 1870s Norton traveled to Europe to further his artistic education. He first went to Paris and studied with Chevreuse and A. Vollon, and then settled in London, where he worked to establish a career and critical reputation as a notable marine painter. Taking the Thames River and other coastal scenes as his primary subjects, Norton developed a signature artistic style that was atmospheric and tonal. His paintings of ships are deftly executed with a striking amount of detail without losing the overall effectiveness of the composition. Norton earned an honorary mention at the Paris Salon of 1895 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. In 1901 he returned to the United States and settled in New York City, where he continued to enjoy a successful career until the end of his life.