William F. Jackson Biography

William Franklin Jackson was an accomplished California artist known for his painted views of poppy fields. He was born at Council Bluffs, Iowa, February 20, 1850. In 1862 his family crossed the plains by ox team, arriving in Sacramento during the Spring of 1863 where he lived during his early boyhood. Later he attended the School of Design in San Francisco where he studied under the direction of Virgil Williams and was also a pupil of Benoni Irwin, who was famous for his portrait and figure painting.

After his marriage to Ida Nichols he opened his first studio in San Francisco where he became closely associated with the late William Keith.  He took many painting trips to the American River and the Sierra Nevada Mountains often accompanied by his close artist friend. He remained there for several years conducting his studio and then returned to Sacramento in 1880 where he resided for the remainder of his life.

In May 1885, he was chosen as the instructor of the California School of Design in the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery which was sponsored by the California Museum Association. A few years later he was appointed Curator of the Art Gallery which position he held for over fifty years. In connection with his position, he maintained his private studio, first confining his efforts to portrait and figure painting and later becoming interested in landscape painting particularly depicting California poppy fields.

Jackson’s style, and that of his contemporaries John Gamble and Granville Redmond, was a departure from the already popular landscapes of the East Coast.  A plein-air painter, his landscapes with rolling fields of poppies and lupines are greatly sought after by collectors.

Exhibited: SFAA, 1878-1905; Calif. State Fair, 1880-1901 (gold medal); Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909; Sacramento Art League, 1912; Calif. Artists, Golden Gate Park Museum, 1915; Kingsley Art Club, 1931. In: Crocker Museum; Sutter and Rotary Clubs (Sacramento); Irvine (CA) Museum.

Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"; California State Library (Sacramento); City Directory; California Impressionism (Wm. Gerdts & Will South); Keith, Old Master of California (Brother Cornelius); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Sacto Bee, 12-23-1909, 12-23-1939, & 1-9-1936 (obituary); AskArt.