William Cumming

William Cumming

William Cumming’s works walk the boundary between realism and abstraction. Though he was a figurative painter, his interest was not in photographic detail but rather in recording a moment in time. He was known particularly for his talent at capturing movement: the physical gesture of bodies in motion and the animated spaces between them. He elided or omitted details and often obscured the faces of his figures in some way. The subjects of Cumming’s works often reflect his daily life.

The figurative paintings by renowned Northwest Master William Cumming are a fantastic celebration of color and life here in the great Northwest. He continues to capture people and animals in motion. His loose brush strokes of vibrant color define forms in light and shadow, coaxing the viewer into a conversation of invigorating life.

William Cumming is a native of Kalispell, Montana, and grew up in Tukwila, Washington. Largely a self-taught artist, he began his career as a painter working on the WPA Federal Art Project in Seattle from 1938 to 1940. William Cumming was the youngest member of the "Northwest School" of artists, whose members included Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, and Guy Anderson.

In 1961 the Seattle Art Museum devoted an exhibition to his work, and he has had one-man exhibitions at numerous galleries since that time. In addition to an active career as a painter, William Cumming has spent many years teaching art.

Contemplation (Portrait of Kenneth Callahan) | 41" x 30" | tempera on board | 1957

The Farm Shop Mural | 71" x 318" | casein & tempera on primed sail cloth | 1941

Fountain Of Youth | 23" x 18" | mixed media on paper | 1993

Child Playing | 22" x 17" | mixed media on paper | 2009

Two Dogs | 16" x 16" | mixed media on paper | 1985

Dancer Whirling | 18" x 15" | tempera on paper | 2001

Beach Scene | 22" x 20" | graphite on paper | 1984

Worker | 16" x 18" | mixed media on paper | 1939

At the River's Edge | 16" x 18" | mixed media on paper | 1939

Seattle Park Series: Standing, Skating, Walking, & Dancing | 55" x 43" | tempera on board | 1997

Stroll in the Park | 17" x 15" | mixed media on paper | 1991

Fountain Of Youth | 11" x 8" | watercolor on paper | 1991

Model Studies | 24" x 17" | watercolor on paper | 1938

Cat and Mouse | 30" x 24" | tempera on board | 2008

Seattle Park Series Montage | 21" x 25" | mixed media on paper | various

Figure Studies | 24" x 17" | watercolor on paper | 1938

In Motion Montage | 27" x 21" | graphite on paper | various

Hoisting Sail | 21" x 23" | tempera on paper | 1999

Out for a Stroll Montage | 29" x 19" | mixed media on paper | various

Modern Dancer | 18" x 18" | mixed media on paper | 1999

Boater on the Dock | 17" x 14" | tempera on board | 2008

Figure Montage | 26" x 21" | mixed media on paper | various

Model in Mirror | 56" x 32" | tempera on board | 2002

Studies of the Figure Montage | 21" x 25" | mixed media on paper | various

Figure Study | 26" x 18" | mixed media on paper | 2004

Baby Elephant | 17" x 15" | tempera on board | 2003

Roller Skating | 19" x 13.5" | mixed media on paper | 1999

Daily Life Montage | 21" x 25" | mixed media on paper | various

Model | 19" x 17" | mixed media on paper | 1989

Model Posing | 24" x 17" | watercolor on paper | c. 1938

Sunday School | 20" x 20" | tempera on board | 2007

Working | 19" x 15" | mixed media on paper | 2003

Couple Walking | 19" x 16" | graphite on paper | 1982

Models in Repose | 24" x 17" | watercolor on paper | 1938

Generations, Seattle Park Series | 40" x 40" | tempera on board | 2006

Woman with Red Hair | 25" x 21" | mixed media on paper | 2006

Seated Woman | 10" X 8" | mixed media on paper | 1996

Gardening | 19" x 15" | mixed media on paper | 2002

Snow Storm | 13" x 16" | mixed media on paper | 1996