William Kelley Gallery

Artist Introduction

What do British art historian Sister Wendy Beckett, world renowned designer Adrienne Vittadini, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Peters, Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi (of the 700-year-old Tuscan winemaking family), Dr. Murf Klauber, owner of The Colony Beach and Tennis Resort, and rock star Brian Johnson, lead singer of AC/DC have in common?  They are all admirers and collectors of William Kelley paintings!

For more than 20 years William and his author-wife Susan have split their time between his studios and their homes in Sarasota, Florida and Florence, Italy.  Sister Wendy Beckett has described his work as “perfect harmony of form and colour”, AC/DC front man and collector Brian Johnson concurs,  “The colors and beauty that are seen through William’s eyes are a reflection of the man himself.” Some collectors have visited his studios in Sarasota and Florence, such as cartoonist Mike Peters, who says, “Whenever we are lonely for Tuscany, all we have to do is look up at our walls.  For there, in William Kelley's paintings, is the light, the color, and the ambiance of Italy.  He captures the essence of Italy like no other modern painter.”  Graci McGillicuddy, former chairperson of the Florida Arts Council, is one of his biggest fans and collectors.  She and her husband Dennis own over 20 paintings. “William Kelley’s artistry uses color, both subtle and bold, to welcome us to his world of sight and feel.  The richness of his expression presents an aliveness and energy that we feel each time we experience his work,” Graci says. On a recent visit to William’s studio, legendary artist Jeff Koons called him “the real deal”.

During the 80's and 90's Kelley had the opportunity to spend time traveling in Asia and Europe.  His work from that time reflects the people and places he loved to visit: pub scenes from Dublin, Galway, and London as well as brightly colored street scenes from places such as Bangkok, Chiang-Mai and Kyoto.

For the past several years, Kelley has devoted his time to painting the dazzling Mediterranean light and hypnotic colors of Tuscany.  His method is to go out into the countryside and work up small canvases on sight, along with sketches and photos, and then return to the studio for further refinement.  There he may finish the smaller canvases or use them or the photos as memory guides to start on larger and perhaps more complex renditions.  The large canvases challenge and inspire because of the conceptual challenges the artist sets himself.  The complex, mesmerizing patterning and infinitude of subtle and transcendent color which characterize Kelley’s finest paintings--that shout for pure joy-- are the result of hard, concentrated work.  Or as Sister Wendy so aptly put it: “It is as profound a vision as one could want--how Cezanne would love you.”

Artist Statement

I have been fortunate enough to have spent a good part of the last 20 years living, studying and painting in Florence, Italy. The landscape, history and character of this beautiful city, its people and traditions, will be etched in my memory forever.

In addition to its abundance of art treasures, Florence’s location, in the center of Tuscany, serves as a major departure point to the many other magnificent cities, towns and villages of Italy. When I first visited Italy, the spectacular beauty of Florence, Rome, and Venice struck me. In recent, years, I have grown to love the simplicity and tranquility of the landscape of the small towns and villages of this beautiful country. North and West of Florence, the Tuscan villages of Montecatini, Lucca, Barga, and Vitiana have provided me with limitless inspiration. The seaside towns of Viareggio and Portofino provide breathtaking waterfront views. In the Chianti region of southern Tuscany, towns such as Monteriggioni, Siena, Pienza, and Montalcino have been sources for many of my recent landscape paintings. The quiet, hidden village of Bagno Vignoni, known throughout Europe for centuries for its healing waters, inspired many paintings. The serenity of this area in unsurpassed. The Amalfi coast, and Positano specifically, has one of the most spectacular coastlines in Europe, if not the world. I have spent many days enjoying the vast beauty of the Mediterranean and the pleasantness of the people in this magnificent town. From the beautiful beaches to the mountain village of Montepertuso, the vistas are unrivaled.

I hope that my paintings and reflections of the unparalleled beauty of Italy are as enjoyable to the viewer as they have been to me.
— William Kelley

William en plein air

William painting in Monteriggioni, Italy


Sarasota Studio, FL

William working on a 7" x 5" piece.


Florence Studio, Italy

William working out on the "Pigeon Nest" of his Florence Studio.

William studied at the prestigious The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston Massachusetts


William also studied at the world renowned Lorenzo de' Medici International Institute in Florence Italy