27 December 2015

Dr. William Kortlander (born February 9th, 1925 – April 29th, 2014) was an American painter and educator. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the Kortlander family had been engaged in the pre-prohibition wine and liquor business for almost half a century. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all painted as a hobby, and his great-grandfather (also William Kortlander) was known for his outstanding art collection.

Following his discharge from the army after World War II, he graduated from Michigan State University in 1949 and pursued a career in commercial art in Dallas, Texas prior to enrolling at the University of Iowa to study art history. He served as a research assistant to noted art historian Dr. William Hecksher while earning his MA and PhD in the field. From 1954 to 1956 he taught at Lawrence University, and from 1956 to 1961, at the University of Texas in Austin.

In 1961 he accepted an appointment at Ohio University, where his interests shifted from art history to a full-time pursuit of studio art. He first received national attention when he was awarded the Mead Painting of the Year Award in the 1965 Art Across America Exhibition. His New York solo shows were given positive reviews, including those by The New York Times critics John Canaday and Hilton Kramer. He is the author of Painting With Acrylics, which, when published in 1973, was critically acclaimed as a major work in the field. He retired Professor Emeritus from Ohio University in 1995 and continued to paint and exhibit his work until the end of his life.