Willliam Posey Silva was born in Savannah, Georgia, but spent most of his early life in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he ran his family's hardware business. Although he had exhibited paintings as a teenager, he did not take up art seriously until he was about fifty years old, at which time he sold his business and moved to Paris to study painting. Within two years his paintings were good enough to be accepted at the Paris Salon. Upon his return to the United States he settled in Washington, D.C. and had exhibitions of his paintings in Boston, Charleston, and Knoxville. A visit to Carmel in 1913 persuaded Silva to move there, and he built a studio near the ocean which he occupied for the rest of his career. From this home base Silva made frequent trips east and abroad. In 1922-23 he revisited Europe and painted in England, France, Italy and Spain. In 1924 he was back in Charleston and painting at Magnolia Gardens. A true impressionist who admired the works of Monet and Manet, Silva worked outdoors, striving to capture the bright vigor of nature in broad, colorful swatches of paint.
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