When Impressionist painter Will Howe Foote died in 1965 he was the last remaining member of the Old Lyme artist's colony.
He had been born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1874 and encouraged to pursue his obvious talents in art. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago for three years before traveling to New York to attend the Art Students League. In 1897 he journeyed to Paris and enrolled in the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens. While in the city he exhibited twice at the Salon.
He returned to New York in 1900 and began to exhibit at the National Academy of Design. In 1901 he accompanied his uncle, noted painter William Henry Howe, to the artist's colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Only a year later he would make the area his permanent home. He assisted at the Old Lyme Summer School, which was a part of the Art Students League.
He remained a member of the colony for the rest of his life, though after his marriage, in 1907, to painter Helen Kirtland Freeman he would travel during the winter months to escape the New England chill. He painted the landscapes he viewed during his journeys, including areas of Mexico and the American Southwest, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
The interest in modern art that began during the 1920s caused the sale of Foote's work to dwindle. He never exhibited after this period, with the exception of the Lyme Art Association shows, and even destroyed many of his works, believing them to be inferior.
His work is in the collections of several important museums including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in Washington, D.C. and the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut.