William A. Harper (1873–1910)
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Born in Ontario, Canada, William A. Harper was an African American sculptor and painter. Harper moved to Illinois and eventually, Chicago. He attended the Art Institute in 1895 and paid his tuition by working as a janitor at the school. After graduating, he attended the Academie and Julian in Paris from 1903 to 1905. During that time in France, he also painting countryside scenes with William Wendt and Charles Francis Browne. In 1905, Harper won the prize from the Municipal Art League for his group of paintings. He died of tuberculosis at the young age of 36 in Mexico City. Harper was a member of the Chicago Society of Artists and the Western Art Association.