William Berra (American, born 1952), Tiber River with St. Peter’s Dome, about 2000, oil on canvas board, Lent by M. Bonner Engelhardt

A Luminist’s Vision

The Paintings of William Berra

March 31 through July 9, 2023

On view in the Wilson Gallery


It is light that reveals our natural world to us. At night, our view is dimmed—while there may be star or moonlight that gently shrouds our world and dissolves contours, daylight has the power to expose all the world’s beauty. William “Bill” Berra creates works of art bound in sunlight and all the color-filled vistas that define the landscapes of the actual world, and a highly personal view of that world that he creates for our appreciation.

Berra paints sunlit Italian landscapes, rustic New Mexican scenes, figures, and churches. His work emphasizes light and color, harmony and spontaneity, and each piece conveys emotion through an inviting sense of ambiguity. The expressionistic mood of Berra’s work strikes each viewer differently, offering a sense of discovery and affinity.

Above: William Berra (American, born 1952), Tiber River with St. Peter’s Dome, about 2000, oil on canvas board, Collection of M. Bonner Engelhardt, Montgomery, Alabama


Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.

Bill Berra’s world is a luminous one that inspires deeper appreciation for the natural beauty
that is all around us.

About the Artist

William Berra (American, born 1952) is a self-taught plain-aire (out of doors, onsite) painter that has been painting his whole life. Raised in York, Pennsylvania, Berra studied for one year at the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts in Baltimore. He left the school in 1972 because he did not fit in with the abstract expressionist movement which was popular at the time. The artist continued to paint the scenery of the Mid-Atlantic states. In 1976 he headed west and found himself in Santa Fe where he has lived ever since.

About his work, Berra writes, “I leave my figures a bit unfinished, a bit abstract, and place them in somewhat abstract settings. This ambiguity allows the figures to represent us all, engaged in the pleasures of everyday life. I tend to visually simplify complex subjects, to reduce them to harmonious compositions of light and color.”

William Berra (American, born 1952), Blue, White, and Black, oil on metal leaf on panel, Collection of Camille Elebash-Hill, Montgomery, Alabama

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