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William Couper Portrait

William Couper

Norfolk, Virginia 1853

Easton, Maryland 1942

Active in:

  • Florence, Italy
  • New York, New York

Photo Caption:
Courtesy William Couper and Couper Family Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Quote

“I have been inspired from my earliest years with the desire to leave something of beauty behind, something which was not in the world when I entered it.” Artist quoted in American Arts Quarterly, 1977

Luce Artist Biography

William Couper was born in Norfolk, Virginia, where his father owned a profitable stoneworks. As a boy, William played in the marble lots watching artisans make statues. He decided to become a sculptor and trained in New York City, Munich, and in Florence, where he made portraits and idealized busts. He married and started a family in Italy, but decided to move back to America, where he built a large home in New Jersey and shared a studio in New York City with the sculptor Thomas Ball. Couper retired from sculpting in 1913 and painted seascapes in oil and watercolors until his death.