Bill Ittmann Biography

William M. Ittmann, Jr.


Bill Ittmann Portrait

      Portrait of Bill Ittmann by Wayne Thiebaud, 1966

William M. Ittmann, Jr. was born in Boston, Mass.  in 1939.  He lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, Havana, Cuba and England growing up.  Traveling a great deal in Europe in his teens, he developed a love of museums and art historical sites early on.  He attended a number of private schools in the U.S. and abroad, and took art courses whenever possible. 

            Receiving a B.F.A. in Art History at the University of Kansas, he was a protégé of Prof. Marilyn Stokstad, and he also worked as student curatorial assistant at the University of Kansas Museum of Art. 

            He pursued graduate level courses at the Courtauld Institute at the University of London in 1964. In 1966, he lived with the renowned California painter Wayne Thiebaud and his family and modeled for a number of his figure paintings and drawings. In St. Louis, he studied at Washington University with Jean Sutherland Boggs, one of the most distinguished art historians of her generation and a specialist in 19th century French art and in particular, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso.  He also worked as a curatorial assistant at the museum on the Washington University campus and at the City Art Museum of St. Louis.  Under Dr. Boggs, he curated an exhibition and produced a catalog of lithographs by Edgar Degas as his M.A. thesis.   Concurrently, Ittmann worked for Dr. Boggs as a research assistant for an exhibition and catalog of drawings by Edgar Degas, which traveled in the U.S. in 1966. Ittmann received his Masters Degree in Art History at Washington University in St. Louis in 1967.

            Between 1967-71, he taught seminar level courses at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. on old master drawings and on 19th century and contemporary art. Two of his students who later gained prominence are the late Kirk Varnedoe, who later became chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art, and Thomas Krens, who later became a founder of Mass MOCA and eventually director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  He organized and curated several exhibitions in Williamstown, in particular an exhibition of works by Edgar Degas in 1970.   He published articles in Art News and Master Drawings Quarterly.  In 1970, Ittmann participated in a travel course in Italy with another professor and a group of students from Williams College, which focused on the art of Giotto and Piero Della Francesca.  In 1968, he traveled to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Cambodia and studied Asian art with a group of collectors led by the late Laurence Sickman, a great Oriental art scholar and director of the Nelson Gallery in Kansas City, MO.  While at Williams he was able to attend lectures and seminars by a number of noted art historians who were visiting professors such as Jean Sutherland Boggs, George Heard Hamilton, Julius Held, Sherman Lee, and Wolfgang Stechow.

            From 1971 to 1975, Ittmann co-produced handmade press books at the Mason Hill Press in Pownal, Vermont.  In 1972 and 1975 he traveled to Italy to visit art historical sites and museums.

            Moving to Portland, Oregon in 1974, he took studio classes at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts (OCAC) and Oregon Art Institute (now PNCA) for the next two years.  In 1978 he received a C.E.T.A. grant as fine arts editor for Spectrum Magazine of the Arts, a quarterly publication, covering the Portland art scene from 1976 to 1979.  Ittmann moved to Cannon Beach in 1978 and has lived there ever since.  He was involved in the Cannon Beach Arts Association in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sat on the Design Review Board of the City of Cannon Beach for 10 years, and chaired the board for three years.  He also taught classes in Cannon Beach between 1979-82 through the extension service of Clatsop Community College. 

            Ittmann taught a Survey of 20th Century Visual Arts course at CCC between 1998-2006 and was Director of the Art Center Gallery from 1999-2006.  He curated numerous exhibitions of regional and local contemporary art at the gallery.  He has juried several exhibitions over the years and is an enthusiastic collector of regional and local contemporary art. 


Last Updated: 
May 2, 2016, 12:58 pm
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