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William Keith

William Keith was born in Abderdeen, Scotland in 1838. He was a romantic-realist painter of the Rocky Mountain School. He died in Berkeley, California in 1911.

Keith immigrated to New York in 1850 where he apprenticed to an engraver. He located in San Francisco in 1858 after which he visited Düsseldorf and lived in Boston for a time. Keith returned to San Francisco in 1879 when naturalist John Muir befriended him and introduced him to the most remote parts of Yosemite National Park.

Keith was a central figure in the early California art scene and an instructor at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute in San Francisco where one of his students was James T. Harwood, the famed Utah painter. Keith visited and sketched in Utah in 1873 where one of his paintings is Indian Encampment, Utah Territory (1874).

Biography adapted from Artists of Utah.

William Keith (1838-1911), of Aberdeen, Scotland, became a San Franciscan in 1858. He was a really fine romantic realist landscape painter central to the early California regional development in art. He visited and sketched in Utah in 1873, which resulted in at least two large, lush oil paintings by him--known results of his ongoing endeavors to canvas the West. One of these scenes (now in a private California collection) was sketched in Weber County in 1873 before it was finished on canvas by Keith in his San Francisco studio.

Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.


Olpin, Robert S., William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999.

 Last Modified 6/20/18