The following biography is from Pat Rowley:
William Dickerson was born in El Dorado, Kansas, in 1904. His career included instructorship at and graduation from the Art Institute of Chicago and forty-one years as Director of the Wichita Art Association, of which he was Director Emeritus at the time of his death in 1972. His career achievements included numerous honors, awards, exhibitions and commissions in the art world.
His work was shown in one-man or group exhibitions at galleries and museums, which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Art Institute; Nelson Art Gallery; Denver Art Museum; Oakland Art Museum; California Palace of the Legion of Honor; Library of Congress; Colorado Springs Fine Art Center; Oklahoma City Art Center; Tulsa Art Museum; Joslyn Art Museum; Wichita Art Association; Wichita Art Museum; Sandzen Memorial Gallery; Pennsylvania Watercolor Club; Philadelphia Art Alliance; Thayer Museum, University of Kansas; Kansas State University, Manhattan; Arizona State College, Flagstaff; Santa Fe Art Museum; and the Toronto (Canada) Art Museum. He is listed in the Who's Who in American Art.
In a very real sense, Dickerson made Kansas a fertile field for the national mainstream Regionalist movement led by Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry and Grant Wood. He opened up Kansas to the realization of its own beauty, and in doing so, he elevated the real sophistication of Kansans about the potential of art and artists to enhance their own lives. Generations of Kansans were to see the true nature of their state through his eyes.
By the mid-thirties, the work of Dickerson had spread to national horizons as he continued to find inspiration for most of his compositions and harmonies in the subjects he had grown up with---all in his own backyard---the trees and fields and rivers and farmsteads and towns and alleys he had come to understand so well.
He also used his masterful draftsmanship to present the people in his area---all in the straightforward, honest approach that identified Curry in his portrait of his parents on the front porch of the family farm. Dickerson's masterpiece in this genre was the great oil painting of his father in his working clothes in a railroad yard. He also painted farmers at their chores, hunters stalking game in a frozen field and the ladies of his own Wichita Art Association attending to a Midwestern-style tea party.
He was the Last Great Kansas Regionalist, and his legacy lives on in former students, many of whom enjoy the most celebrated reputations in the art world. His influence has quietly shaped the standards of Kansas art for almost a half-century, and his work stands as a monument to the greatest days of the Regionalist movement in Kansas.