September 7, 1904: Artist William Norman born in Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1904, artist William Norman was born to Walter C. and Nellie A. (Parmeter) Norman. William grew up at 4127 West Fourth Street and attended Denfeld High School, graduating in 1923. He studied at the Minneapolis Art Institute, the Chicago Art Institute, and the New York Academy of Design and found work as an illustrator for the Duluth Herald, the New York American and the Wisconsin News in Milwaukee. In 1932 and 1933 he rode out part of the Depression by taking a “sketching tour” of Mexico. He returned to the U.S. in 1934 to take a job with the Works Project Administration in both Minneapolis and Duluth. During that time, he also completed a series of lithographs of Duluth scenes. In 1935, the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration began funding the Duluth Art Center, located in the Dodge Block at 405 East Superior Street. William became director of the Center and remained in that job until the Center closed in 1943. He eventually moved on, first to Minneapolis and then to retirement in his beloved Mexico and died in Arizona in 1980. Norman’s works, lithographs, water colors, and oils, were exhibited around the country, including the New York World’s Fair and the Brooklyn Art Museum. They are held in permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the University of Minnesota, and the Milwaukee Art Center. A collection of Norman’s lithographs of Duluth are displayed on the second floor of the Duluth Public Library, near the North Shore room. Discover more about Norman in his biography here.

Self portrait of William Norman. (Image: Public Domain)rman