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William Tolliver was an African-American figure painter. William Tolliver was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi in the year 1951. Tolliver was one of fourteen children.

Tolliver was self taught and learned by reading all books he could from libraries. His mother assisted him in this task. The artist’s mother worked the cotton fields.

The artist worked in oils, pastels, and watercolors.

Price range information: Works range from $5,000 to $20,000.

The artist relocated to Los Angeles, California where he took part in the Jobs Corps program. Whilst in the program Tolliver studied with a teacher who was also an artist.

When the next boom cycle hit the oil patch in the south, Tolliver moved to Louisiana. He continued to paint. When he was left unemployed after the cycle hit a bust period, the artists wife took his work to a gallery where he sold nine works in ten days. An artist was born!

Below a great montage of works by William Tolliver:


William Tolliver passed away in 2000.

William Tolliver had a great talent for painting people of color with modern designs. I am a big fan of his paintings of musicians.