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William Wild
William Wild (German-American, 1875-1966) painter, commercial artist, naturalist, entomological research associate, author, illustrator and photographer. Wild is primarily known for his landscape paintings in oil and watercolor, still lifes, and for his vast research in the field of entomology along with wildlife and insect drawings, sketches and paintings. William was born in Hechingen, Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany on January 10, 1875 and is where he attended grammar school and later studied decorative painting under J. Sprissler. After immigrating to the United States in 1892, he settled in Buffalo, NY and studied at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts. In his early career, he worked for various lithographic and photo-engraving firms as an artist including the Buffalo Courier newspaper. He was also the head of the famous J.W. Clement Co. from about 1915-1930 when he then became a freelance artist for several companies and advertising firms.

William was a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, exhibiting at the Albright Art Gallery, as well as with the Buffalo Arts Club (co-founder) where he had several private exhibitions, and the East Aurora Paint and Varnish Club (c.1904-c.1935). He also exhibited in a solo show of nature subjects at the Museum of Natural Science, Buffalo, NY (1922) through the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. Circa 1910, Wild was also an active member and exhibited with the Saturday Sketch Club in Spring Brook, NY. Other notable Buffalo artists in the Saturday Sketch Club included J.J. Lankes (American, 1884-1960) who founded the club in 1910, William J. Schwanekamp (American, 1893-1970), Arthur Kowalski (American, 1893-1958) and his brother Edgar Kowalski (American, 1891-1968), and the well known instructor of the Buffalo Arts Guild School Ernest George Fosbery (Canadian, 1874-1960).

Apart from his art associations, he was an avid naturalist. In the mid 1930's, William took a part-time job at the Buffalo Museum of Science, to mount, label & classify the various museums collections which contained about 64,000 insect specimens. He later became a research associate in the Entomology Department at the Museum (circa 1951) and he continued on in an advisory capacity until 1965. He was an active member of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (writing many papers for the society), American Entomological Society, and the Buffalo Botanical Society. He regularly submitted and published new species identifications, as well as entomological camera lucida drawings, sketches and paintings in various entomological news journals, science bulletins and books. Some publications include: Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Volume 9 (1908), Annals of the Entomological Society of America (Quarterly, 1913), the Entomological News and Proceedings of the Entomological Section of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (1915), Hobbies (1922), Seventy-five Years; A History of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, 1861-1936 (1938), and Tracks and Trailcraft (1948). In addition, he has authored several publications such as: The Butterflies of the Niagara Frontier region, and beginner’s guide for collecting, rearing and preserving them…(1939),Household insect pests usually found in the Niagara Frontier region (1960) and Household Pests and How to Eradicate Them (illustrated by William Wild) which was a best-seller and sold through the Buffalo Museum of Science for .35 cents.

"It's no disgrace to have an invasion of household pests," said Wild, "It is just a disgrace if you don't get rid of them. I've had specimens to identify from some of the finest homes in Buffalo."

His interest in entomology began in his childhood when he was eight years old collecting butterflies in Germany and continued throughout his professional career and life as an artist. People affectionately referred to him as the "Bug Man", of which he didn't mind being called. He treasured a small collection of various insects and butterflies that he brought with him to America when he emigrated from Germany in 1892.

He married Katherine B. (née Ertel, 1876-) of Buffalo, NY on December 17, 1902 and they had one son Carl William (1906-). In 1910, the family moved to East Aurora, NY, where they resided and maintained his art studio at 249 Walnut Street. William died February 16, 1966 at the Orchard Park Nursing Home at the age of 91.


Chronology:

1875- Born, January 10, Hechingen, Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Circa early 1890’s- Studied decorative painting under J. Sprissler, Germany.

1892- He immigrated to the United States and settled in Buffalo, NY and lived with his brother Anton Wild.

Circa early-mid 1890’s- Studied at the Buffalo School of Fine Arts, Buffalo, NY.

1902- December 17, William married Katherine B. (née Ertel, 1876-) of Buffalo, NY.

1906- Their son Carl William was born, Buffalo, NY.

1908- Spring, exhibited, group show, “Fourteenth Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, for the painting “Ruffed Grouse”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1910- Spring, exhibited, group show, “Sixteenth Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Moved to East Aurora, NY and resided & maintained his art studio at 249 Walnut Street.

1911- Spring, exhibited, group show, “Seventeenth Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, two landscapes, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. December, exhibited, group show, Saturday Sketch Club, held in the rooms of the Buffalo Camera Club, Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1915-1930- He was the head of the famous J.W. Clement Company (James W. Clement), a well known printing firm located at Seneca, Lord, and Seymour Streets, Buffalo, NY.

1922- March, exhibited, group show, an exhibit of cover designs, six artists represented including William Wild, George Bender, William Schindler, Carl L. Bredemeier, Irene H. Rosinska and Phillis Potter, 276 pieces shown, Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, solo show of watercolor landscape studies, through the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Museum of Natural Science, Buffalo, NY.

1926- Exhibited, group show, “32nd Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. April, exhibited, group show, “The Arts Club 2nd Annual Exhibition”, 3 paintings shown, Buffalo, NY.

By 1928- Was an active member in the East Aurora Paint and Varnish Club (c.1904-c.1935), along with several other notable Buffalo artists including its founder Alexis Jean Fournier, Margaret Evans Price, Merle James, Walter and Rixford "Rix" Jennings, Karl Kipp, Robert North, Charles Rohrbach, and George Scheidemantel.

1931- October-November, exhibited, group show, “Hobby Fair”, nature field photographs shown, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, NY. Nov. 21-??, exhibited, group show, “24th Annual Thumb Box Art Exhibition”, Buffalo Society of Artists, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1934- William began a part-time job at the Buffalo Museum of Science to mount, label & classify the various museums collections that contained about 64,000 insect specimens, Buffalo, NY.

1941- Spring, exhibited, group show, “47th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, 2 paintings shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY.

1942- Spring, exhibited, group show, “48th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, 3 paintings shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY.

1943- Spring, exhibited, group show, “49th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, 3 paintings shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY.

1945- Spring, exhibited, group show, “50th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, 1 painting shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY.

1947- Spring, exhibited, group show, “52th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, 1 painting shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY.

1949- April, exhibited, solo show, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, NY.

1951- Spring. exhibited, group show, “56th Annual Exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists”, 2 paintings shown, Hotel Statler, Buffalo, NY.

Circa 1951- William became a research associate in the Entomology Department for the Buffalo Society of Natural Science, at the Buffalo Museum of Science, and continued in an advisory capacity until 1965, Buffalo, NY.

1966- Died, February 16, at the Orchard Park Nursing Home and funeral services were held at Howe Funeral Home and he is buried at Oakwood Cemetery, East Aurora, NY.

Exhibited Also At: Guild of Allied Arts, Buffalo, NY; Paint and varnish Club, East Aurora, NY; East Aurora Art Society, East Aurora, NY.

Memberships: Buffalo Society of Artists, Buffalo, NY; Buffalo Arts Club (co-founder), Buffalo, NY; Saturday Sketch Club, Spring Brook, NY; East Aurora Paint and Varnish Club, East Aurora, NY; Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Buffalo, NY; American Entomological Society, Buffalo, NY; American Artists Professional League; Buffalo Guild of Allied Arts, Buffalo, NY; East Aurora Art Society, East Aurora, NY; Buffalo Nature Study Club, Buffalo, NY; Photographic Club; Izaak Walton League of America, Niagara Frontier Chapter (charter member); and the Buffalo Botanical Society, Buffalo, NY.

Honors/Awards: Associate Fellow, Buffalo Museum of Science; Dinner held by Isaak Walton League.

Collections: Cornell University, entomological collections donated by William Wild, of 245 species of small moths, Cornell, NY; Buffalo Museum of Science, various American and British newspaper & magazine clippings of over 1000 insects, flora, fauna and other nature specimens and lore with many full-color illustrations, Buffalo, NY; University of Milwaukee, 5000 butterflies, moths and beetles, Milwaukee, WI.

For additional information on this artist or for other possible examples of his works, please visit the AskArt link.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com, 10/2011 [updated 01/2014], Sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request.)
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