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William Carter


William S. Carter (1909-1996) was a nationally recognized and awarded artist, who lived on Chicago's southside for most of his life. Carter was a master of all painting mediums and contributed extensively to the African-American art culture of Chicago.

In many of William Carter's paintings rest the richness of a forgotten urban American period which has been carefully closeted away from the traditional cultural milieu.  Mainstream society has not been willing to offer a sincere critique of the contents of this American closet.  Its true hidden treasures have not been revealed and thus have never been given their full potential to enrich the marginally humanitarian American persona.  Fortunately, black artists have unlocked the closet door. Confined without fault and stuffed in this inevitable situation, many have developed a claustrophobic need for cultural expression.  Among these artists, William Carter led the way.

William Carter was an artist-in-resident in this American closet.  His works are a conclusive chronicle of that experience.  Moreover, these works leave an indelible legacy of his escape and eventual freedom as an an important American artist.  To look at Carter's work is to read a poignant visual journal of vital American history.  In it, the observer will see the urban spirit, the hopes, the reason and the earthly pleasures of a people who yet remain confined within the American closet.  More significantly, the observer perceives a profound admiration for the irony, perplexity and cohesiveness which govern the daily life of this people.  Through this, the observer can share Carter's view of life that tomorrow will always be the brightest day of one's life.

Review by Robert Pegram Dilworth

Boy with White Gloves

Oil on Masonite
23in. x 18in.

Family Group

Tempera on Paper
17in. x 11in.

Surreal Neighborhood

Oil on Masonite
16in. x 20in.

Woman and Vase

Tempera on Board
14in. x 12in.


Watercolor on Paper
11in. x 8.5in.


Oil on Masonite
20in. x 14in.