William Robinson Leigh was born 23 September 1866 in Maidstone, West Virginia. As a youth he studied art at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore from 1880 to 1883, and then traveled to Germany, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy, Munich. Leigh remained at the Academy until 1896, and studied with Nicholas Gysis, Ludwig Loeffler, and Karl Raupp, from whom he learned sophisticated techniques in landscape, genre, and figure painting. Leigh returned to the United States and settled in New York City, where he worked until 1906. In that year, he undertook a lifelong dream to move to the western states to paint genre studies of the lives of Native Americans, cowboys, miners, and trappers on the fast-disappearing American frontier. From that time until the end of his life, Leigh was famous for his western scenes. His works were highly successful as original paintings, and were frequently reproduced as illustrations for books and periodicals. Active as a painter, illustrator, and muralist until the end of his life, William Robinson Leigh died in New York City, 11 March 1955, at the age of eighty-eight years.
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