A painter specializing in portraits, figure and still life, William Turner Dannat was noted for his skills as a draftsman and for his abilities as a Realist. Though born in New York, he spent most of his professional life in Europe and eventually settled in France, where he died in 1929.
He had studied widely, but often credited only a single instructor for his trainings - Mihaly Munkacsy. He had studied under such other teachers as Carolus-Duran and in other locations around Europe, but it was the influence of Munkacsy that played the strongest role in Dannat's future works.
Early in his career he received recognition by the French government when it purchased one of his works. He was able to make a deep study of the Old Masters and his sketches and work inspired by this period also brought him much acclaim.
His submission to the 1889 Paris Exposition added still another mark to his all ready prosperous career, when the jury and many critics singled it out for special recognition. That same year Dannat was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. He would also become a president of the Paris Society of American Painters and serve as an instructor at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.
He exhibited in Europe and the United States with much success, and his transitioning style never affected the popularity of his genre, portraits, interior and Arabic scenes.
His paintings can be found in many major museums, including the National Gallery of Oslo, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.