W. W. Cowell

William Wilson Cowell (1848 – 1910) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Cowell and well-known, popular Chicago actress, Anna Cruise Cowell. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with marine painters, Edward Moran and John Faulkner. He painted in New York State, notably the Adirondack Mountains and the Hudson River, Newport and the Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, the rocky coasts of Hahant and Marblehead, Massachusetts and the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. Circa 1895, Cowell moved to Chicago, Illinois, but spent his summers in Nova Scotia. He adopted a primarily luminist manner, a style of painting that emphasizes careful attention to the effects of direct and reflected light within a painting. His watercolours – which appear to be predominantly his medium of choice while painting in Nova Scotia – clearly demonstrate this style. While in Nova Scotia he taught art privately in Yarmouth. In 1905 he married Florence M. Cress of Round Hill, Annapolis County. At the time of his marriage he was a widower. On Sept. 7, 1910 he died at Round Hill, N.S. and was buried in Pennsylvania.

Cowell was a member of the Brooklyn Art Association and the National Academy of Design, where he also exhibited. He also exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1876 to 1900 and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Some material for this biography is based on the January 15, 2008 article in The Vanguard “W. W. Cowell art on exhibit at Yarmouth Museum”.