Hoyt, William B. (Wimby)
William B. (Wimby) Hoyt was born in October 1945 in New Haven, Connecticut. As a teenage student at St. George’s, he discovered a mentor for his inchoate artistic vision in Richard Grosvenor, who taught watercolor, oil painting, and art history with infectious enthusiasm. After he took all the art courses offered, Dick and William just went out painting together, beginning an artistic friendship that continues today. However, a field trip to the Fogg Art Museum as a young student to see Andrew Wyeth’s dry brush watercolors cinched the deal for him. He was going to be an artist too.
Beyond the canvas lay the sea. His father was a lover of boats and they became a sailing family of the first order. The summer after his high school graduation he joined him and 11 others on a 50-foot boat named Ondine in the transatlantic race to England.
In 1963, after many sailing and foreign journeys, he enrolled at Yale and discovered an entirely different art world. The chairman of the art department was the New York abstract expressionist Jack Tworkov. Also, though he had recently departed from Yale, Josef Albers’ influence remained in the teaching of color theory by Sewall Sillman and painting by Richard Lytle. Hoyt was particularly affected by Walker Evans, the Depression era photographer who collaborated on James Agee’s book, ”Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.” Evans came out from New York on the train on Tuesdays and spent individual time with each of his students, looking at their efforts and sharing his expertise and wisdom.
William B. Hoyt graduated in 1967, married shortly thereafter, had his first solo show at the Newport Art Association, got his draft notice, joined the Navy, went to OCS, was stationed in Italy with the commander of the Sixth Fleet, and embarked on the USS Littlerock. While enlisted, he painted portraits of both the admirals under whom he served and produced a portfolio of 25 paintings of Fleet activities.
After the service, he divorced and moved to Vermont. In the early 1970′s, finally free of the limitations of various institutions and conventional society, Hoyt and his Vermont friends began to explore an alternative, communal lifestyle, encouraging each other in their different endeavors. He discovered that he liked building with wood and along with a friend moved to Barnard to build a “cabin” for a Newport couple he knew who owned land there. During this time he remarried, and in 1973 his daughter Gwen was born. She started life in a bureau drawer in the house still under construction. After it was finished they bought another old house in Barnard, Vermont, built in 1820, and he went back to painting.
The next four years found him painting in Vermont, accepting portrait commissions and exhibiting there and in Newport, RI. He then commenced, after a second divorce, to travel and paint for several years, eventually returning to Vermont and buying land in Hartland where he lives with his wife, Kathy.
He was also sailing again with a friend, Spencer Field, over in Maine. Talking in the outfield during a summer softball game, they discovered their mutual interest. After sailing with him and painting a few summers on the coast, he accumulated enough paintings of Maine to look for a gallery there. A friend recommended Maine’s Massachusetts House, north of Camden on Route 1 past Lincolnville Beach. This was in the early 90′s. Before long Charles Cawley, the president of MBNA, a new credit card company, was frequenting the gallery and buying much of his work. Thus began a patronage that lasted almost a decade and encouraged him to spend more and more time in Maine doing large oil paintings that went into corporate spaces in Maine, New York, Delaware and Florida.
Today William B. Hoyt continues to work daily and feels fortunate to have respectful friendships with the galleries that represent him.