Artist biography

William N. Copley born 1919 [- 1996]

American painter of exuberantly humorous and often erotic figure and still-life pictures; also well-known as a collector of Surrealist works and patron. Born in New York. Studied at Yale University, then fought in Italy during the Second World War. Started painting as a hobby, self-taught, in 1946, encouraged by Man Ray, Ernst and Duchamp, and had his first one-man exhibition at Roger's Bookshop, Los Angeles, in 1946 or 1947. Opened the short-lived Copley Galleries at Beverly Hills 1947-8, dealing in works by Cornell, Ernst, Magritte, Matta, Man Ray and Tanguy. Lived in Paris and Longpont-sur-Orge (Seine-et-Oise) 1951-63, exhibiting widely as a painter. Created the William and Noma Copley Foundation in 1954 to assist creative painters, sculptors and composers. Since 1963 has lived in New York. Signs his work 'Cply'.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.130-1