Printmaker, etcher, painter, and craftsman, William Seltzer Rice was born on June 23, 1873 in Manheim, PA where his family had a carriage-painting business. Rice began drawing at an early age and had art lessons from itinerant artists. At age 20 he enrolled at the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia and took classes from Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute.
He worked as a staff artist for the Philadelphia Times until 1900 when, at the age of twenty-seven, he accepted the position as Supervisor of Art in the Stockton Public Schools. He remained in that position for ten years and then became head of the art departments at Alameda High School, Fremont High School (1919-30), Oakland's Castlemont High School (1930-40), and UC Extension (1932-43). While teaching, he earned a B.F.A. degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts and taught summer classes at that school.
Rice produced a number of watercolors of scenic spots in California from 1901. Wood block and linoleum prints soon became his forte.
At the Panama Pacific Exposition he was exposed to Japanese prints, which impressed him deeply and changed the course of his future work. In 1918, the first major exhibition of his color woodcuts hung at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. He retired from teaching in the public schools in the 1940s but continued accepting invitations to teach and exhibit for the next 15 years.
He died at his Oakland home on Aug. 27, 1963.
He was author of Block Prints: How to Make Them and Block Printing in the School and wrote articles on naturalist subjects for Sunset magazine.
Member: SFAA; Calif. Society of PM; Calif. Society of Etchers; Prairie Printmakers; Oakland Art League; Pacific AA; Bay Region AA; Northwest Printmakers.
Exhibited: Penn. Museum of Industrial Art, 1904 (prize); Calif. Society of Etchers from 1912; PPIE, 1915; SFAA, 1916, 1925; Santa Cruz Art League, 1934; GGIE, SF,1939; Library of Congress, 1943; Philadelphia Print Club, 1943.
In: CCAC; NMAA; Boston Public Library; Library of Congress; NY Public Library; CSL; Oakland Museum; Worcester (MA) Museum.