Corbett, William, Ft. Lauderdale. Watercolor, 11 by 15 inches.

William Corbett moved to Fort Lauderdale from Louisville, Kentucky in 1950.  When he died at the Coral Gables Veteran’s Hospital in 1960, the Miami Herald referred to him as the “El Greco of the U.S.” He began drawing at an early age and, after study at the Pittsburgh Art Institute, did signs and displays for theaters and night clubs in Pittsburgh area. Corbett served with the Army Engineers at Fort Knox, Kentucky from 1941 through 1943. While in the Army Corbett did a large pictorial map of the North American continent with bas-relief figures for the Fort Knox Post Library. After study at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and a stint as a commercial artist, he moved to Fort Lauderdale. His paintings won prizes all over the United States. In his work Corbett was interested in materials, technique, content, and style. His favorite artists include El Greco, Leonardo, Rembrandt, Renoir, Burchfield and Andrew Wyeth. Favorite subjects include horses, clowns and Don Quixote. Corbett suffered from rheumatic fever, contracted while serving with the Army during World War II. His last work was a reproduction of The Last Supper. He died at the age of forty-six, at the Veteran’s Hospital in Coral Gables. The Miami Herald, (September 9, 1960): The 46-year-old had been hanging on to life by sheer will power for the last several years, his doctors said. ‘I refuse to die until I finish painting the things I have to paint.’” Maurice LaReau, art editor of the Fort Lauderdale News, (September 18,1960): “During the years residing and painting here, Corbett achieved, without any doubt, the number one position as the painter in the community; and at the same time receiving notable plaudits from art critics throughout the nation…. Broward County lost a dear friend and a mighty good artist.” A memorial exhibit of Corbett’s work was held at the Fort Lauderdale Art Center in January 1961 and the Boca Raton Art Guild in February. Born: Pittsburgh, Pa., June 21, 1914. Died: September 1960, Coral Gables. Education: With Vincent Nesbert, Pittsburgh Art Institute; With Robert Gwathmey, Roy Hilton, Robert Leper, Carnegie Institute of Technology; Louisville Art Center; Boston Museum School of Fine Arts with Karl Zerbe, David Aronson. Membership: American Artists Professional League; Broward Art Guild; Florida Federation of Art; Boca Raton Art Guild. Exhibits:  Army Art Shows,  Fort Knox, Kentucky, 1941 to 1943, prizes for oils Green Trees, Primordial Man and a watercolor, Beach Scene; Stewart Dry Goods Company, Little Gallery, Fort Knox, Kentucky, October 1944, now as a civilian, Willis House-Pewee Valley, Fighting Stallions; Louisville, Kentucky Woman’s Club, November 1940, Against the Wind (horses); Kentucky & southern Indiana exhibitions, honorable mention 1947, Ravens Roost 1949, Fisherman’s Curse, Don Q.; American Artists Professional League, Fort Lauderdale Outdoor Art Show, February 1-14, 1952; American Artists Professional League at Doric Temple, Fort Lauderdale, November 1953, Expulsion; Boca Raton Art Guild 4th Annual Exhibition, March 1953, a trompe d’oeil, Of The Past; Boca Raton Art Guild, at Boca Raton Hotel and Club, February 1954, award, Don; Clothesline art exhibit, sponsored by American Artists Professional League, Sunrise Shopping Center, March 24 1954; First Annual Beaux Arts Ball, Jolly Roger Hotel, Thanksgiving 1954, first prize, oil, Pirates; Boca Raton Art Exhibit, 1954, merit award, oil, Don Quixote; Art Guild of Boca Raton, February 1955, first prize in oil for Rust (Cow skull with horseshoe on horn, above rusted wheel); Art Guild of Boca Raton, 6th Annual, February 1956; 1957, first prize in oil, Rust, a trompe L’oeil; 1958, honorable mention, Three Guitars; Harry Rich Florida Art Competition, 1956, popular prize, Buckskin, a trompe L’oeil; French Flower Mart and Clothesline Show, April 12-13, 1957; Harry Rich Florida Art Competition, 1957, first prize, Legacy, a trompe L’oeil pictured in the Miami Herald, April 21, 1957 and depicting the artist’s desk with coffee cup and a cup full of art brushes; Florida Federation of Art 30th Annual, Sarasota, November 1957, first prize, in lacquer, Don Quixote; Miami Beach Art Center, December 1957, Ruth (his wife), Guitar, Kings Three, Don Quixote, Blue Wine and Kelly the Clown; Clothesline Exhibit, Jo-Lin Apartments, Johnson Street, Hollywood, May 4, 1958; Florida Federation of Art, 31st Annual Exhibition, November 13-28, 1958, Daytona Beach, polymer tempera, Old House; Broward Art Guild, 1st Annual Members Exhibition, Schramm Galleries, Fort Lauderdale, November-December 1958, second prize, Portrait of Ruth; Boca Raton Art Guild, 9th Annual, Mizner Room of Boca Raton Hotel, February 1959, modern, Beachcomber’s Dream; Boca Raton Art Guild, at McAllister Hotel, Miami, May 1960, with 30 Guild members; Broward Art Guild, 3rd Annual, at The Gallery on Las Olas Blvd, October 1960, (posthumous) including Gull Net; Fort Lauderdale Art Center, January 1961, memorial exhibit; Boca Raton Art Guild, February 1961, memorial exhibit. Directory: Listed in the Fort Lauderdale City Directory, 1955-57, 1959, as an artist with studio at 1143 N.W. 14t Ct. 

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