Born Pensacola, Florida 1936. Resides in New York City 1967


1966 University of Alabama, MFA
1962 University of Southern Mississippi BS

Solo Exhibitions

2013 Elizabeth Harris Gallery, NYC
2012 Sarah Moody Gallery, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
2011 Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY; cat. essay Lance Esplund
2009 Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ
2009 Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY; catalogue essay by James Panero; with documentary film by Michael Feldman
2009 Sideshow Gallery, New York, NY 2006 Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY
1993 Andre Zarre Gallery, New York, NY
1990 Twining Gallery, New York, NY
1988 Gallerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden Pensacola Museum of Fine Art, Pensacola, FL
1986 Oscarsson-Siegeltuch, New York, NY Millerville University Gallery, Millerville, PA
1985 Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, FL C.W. Woods Gallery, University of
Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
1984 Oscarsson Hood Gallery, New York, NY
1983 Gallerie Nordenhake, Malmo, Sweden Engstrom Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden
1982 Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, NY Galerie Gonet, Lausanne,
Switzerland Eason Gallery, Santa Fe, NM Phoenix Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
1981 Marianne Deson Gallery, Chicago, IL Oscarsson Hood Gallery,
New York, NY
1980 Oscarsson Hood Gallery, New York, NY Gallerie Nordenhake, Malmo, Sweden
1979 55 Mercer Street Gallery, New York, NY
1971 New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
1970 Simonne Stern Gallery, New Orleans, LA
1970 Paley and Lowe, New York, NY
1967-8 Henri Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Two Person Exhibitions

2001 “Raising the Bar: James Little & Thornton Willis”, Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Selected Group Exhibitions

2013 "Works of the Jenney Archive",  Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue, NY
2011 “Works on Paper” Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, NY, NY
2011 “It’s All Good/Apocalypse Now” Sideshow Gallery, New York, NY
2010 “Phenomenon” Holland Tunnel Gallery, Paris, Greece & NY, NY
2010 “It’s a Wonderful 10th” Sideshow Gallery, New York, NY
2009-10 “Color-Time-Space” Lohin Geduld Gallery, New York, NY; Janet
Kurnitowski Gallery New York, NY; Rosenberg Gallery, Hofstra
University, Hempstead NY cat. Available, traveling show
2009 “Fifty Works for Fifty States: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection” Milwaukee Arts Museum, Milwaukee, WI
2009 “Personal Geometry” Lori Bookstein Fine Art, New York, NY
2008 “Shape Shifters”, A.D. Gallery University of North Carolina at Pembroke curated by James Biederman. “Shape Shifters” New York Painters, Sideshow Gallery Williamsburg, NY
2008 “In Context: The Language of Abstraction Continues”, Henry St.
2008 Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Summer Group Show New York NY
2008 “Tribute to Esphyr Slobodinka” The Painting Center, New York, NY
2008 Union League, NYC, Auction (w/cat) for The New Criterion
2007 St. Joseph University, NJ American Abstract Artist’s Exhibition; E. Harris Gallery, NYC The Holland Tunnel Gallery, Paros Greece
2006 “Neoplastic Redux”, Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, NY
2006, 08, 11 “New Criterion Benefit Auction”,Union League Club, New York, NY “The War is Over” Sideshow Gallery, New York NY
2005 “Optica Simulations” The Yellow Bird Gallery, Newburgh, NY
2003 The Spike Gallery, Green Chimney’s Auction & Benefit, New York, NY
2002 “Recent Acquisitions”, The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, U. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, “Paintings”, The Space, New York, NY
2001 “New York Artists”, Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra Museum, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, curated by James Little;

“Abstraction and Immanence”, Hunter College, NYC, curated by Vincent Longo
2000 Musee Cantonal Des Beaux-Arts DeLausanne, Switzerland R.Zaug“ American Abstract Artists, 1930-2000”, Hillwood Art Museum, NYC
1999 “The Art of Absolute Desire”, Gershwin Hotel, NY, curated by James Little “The Power of Drawing”, Westbeth Gallery, New York, NY
1998 “Absolut Secret”, David McKee Gallery, New York, NY “Abstract
Index”, Condesco/Lawler Gallery, New York, NY, curated By Vincent Longo
1997 “Abstract Tendencies”, Rider College Gallery, Lawrenceville, NJ, Curated by D. Rosenthal, (catalog Rider University Press)
1996 “New York – Abstract”, New York Arts Magazine,NYC curator James Little
1993 “Small Paintings: Big Issues”, Douglas Drake Gallery, New York, NY “The Tradition”, Anita Shapolsky Gallery, New York, NY
1991 “Abstract Paintings: the 90s”, Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY Curated by Barbara Rose 1988 American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters, New York, NY

“Dorothy Diener, Peter Voulkos, Thornton Willis”, Twining Gallery, New York, NY Oscarsson-Seigeltuch Gallery, Inaugural show, New York, NY
1985 Rose Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
1985 “Affair of the Heart”, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY “Color Abstraction in the 80s”, Baruch College, New York, NY Curated by Katherine Crum

“Abstract/Issues”, Tibor de Nagy, New York, NY, curated by Steven Madoff “Current Six: New Abstraction”, Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI, curated by G. Nordland
1984 “Ten Years of Contemporary Art”, G.E. Corporation, Fairfield, CT, circulated by MOMA

“An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, curated by Kynaston McShine, (catalog) inaugural exhibition
1983 “ARS 83”, Museum of Fine Art, Helsinki, Finland; Foster Goldstrom Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
1982 Galerie Numaga, Neuchatel, Switzerland
1981 Galerie Arneson, Copenhagen, Denmark “New Art II: Surfaces/Textures”, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, NY

“Painting Up Front”, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, curated by Thomas Leavitt (catalog)

“New Directions: A Corporate Collection”, Sidney Janis
Gallery, New York, (artists selected by Sam Hunter)

“New York, Paper Works Show” Nina Freudenheim Gallery,Buffalo,NY
1980 “Seven Young Americans”, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY “Color Painting”, Gallery Engstrom, Stockholm, Sweden
1979 “American Painting: The Eighties”, Grey Art Gallery, New York, NY, curated by Barbara Rose

Selected Bibliograpy

2012 Thomas B. Harrison, ‘Southern Abstraction’, Mobile Press Register, June 01, 2012
2011 James Panero “Gallery Chronicle” The New Criterion, Vol. 29, No.6,p.57
2009 Lilly Wei, “Thornton Willis at Elizabeth Harris” Exhibition Reviews, “Art in America” Sept. 2009 #08 page 149
2009 Thornton Willis, Melville Price: Works from the Sixties, Tom McCormick Gallery, Copyright 2009, Color Reproduction, essay, pp. 14-15
2009 James Panero, Pilgrim’s Process, Catalogue Essay, Thornton Willis: The Lattice Paintings, March 2009
2008 Lance Esplund, “The Met’s Memorable Year”, The New York Sun,
Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008, Arts & Letters, page 21

James Panero, Critics Notebook, “ Comeback Kid”, Art & Antiques, Vol. xxx, No. 12, pp. 110-114 color repros.

Lance Esplund, “A Show of Painterly Swagger”, The New York Sun, Nov. 8, 2007, Vol. 123, No. 146, p 22

James Panero, Gallery Chronicle, The New Criterion, Vol 26, No. 3 pp. 61-62, September

Jed Perl, “How The Art World Lost its Mind to Money: Laissez-Faire Aesthetics,” The New Republic, Feb 5, 2007

2006 John Goodrich, Gallery Going “Black & White and Big All Over”, The New York Sun, December 14, 2006

Channing Joseph, Arts & Letters, “Geometry In Color,”

New York Sun, Making a Quantum Comeback” Tues. December 19, 2006 page 13
2005 Naves, Mario, “A Shared Aesthetic and Goal, Raising the Bar at the Sideshow”, New York Observer, April 18, p 8 Maine,

Stephen, “Dateline Brooklyn, Artnet, April

La Rocca, Ben, “Thornton Willis and James Little”, The Brooklyn Rail, April

Lieb, Vered, “Thornton Willis and James Little: Raising the Bar”, N.Y Arts Magazine, Vol. 10, No 3/4, p71, March/April

Lieb, Vered, “Thornton Willis and James Little”, Abstract Art on Line April
2005 Panero, James, “Gallery Chronicles”, The New Criterion, May, Vol 23, no 9, p50
2003 Perl, Jed, “On Art: Unity and Variety”, The New Republic, Vol. 228, No 3, Issue 4593, Jan. 27

Kaufman, Leslie, “The Lost Legacy of Stewart Hitch”, The New York Times, The City, Section 14, Feb.2
2001 Morgan, Robert C., “Painted in New York City: The Presence of the Past" catalog essay published by Hofstra University for “Painted In New York City”, Jan.
1999 Lieb, Vered, “The Art of Absolute Desire”, N.Y. Arts Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 8, pp50-1
1997 Rosenthal, Deborah, “Abstract Tendencies”, Rider University Press
1994 Scott, Sue, “Reviews: New York”, ARTnews, Feb., p143 Lloyd W., Ann

“Review of Exhibitions”, Art in America, May p112
1993 Perl, Jed, “Code Name Painting” The New Criterion, Dec., Vol.12 No 4
1986 Lieb, Vered, “Objective Spirit: Thornton Willis”, Arts Magazine, Nov.
1985 Heartney, Eleanor, “Thornton Willis as Oscarsson Hood”, ARTnews, Gaugh,

Harry T., “Franz Kline: The Man and the Myth”, ARTnews, Dec.
1984 Carrier, David, “Betwixt and Between Illusion and Literality: Thornton Willis’ Recent Paintings”, p194, Nov.

Rosenthal, Deborah, “First Underground Show,” Art in America, Nov., p157-8
1983 Madoff, Steven, “Looking for Thornton Willis: A Treatise”, Arts
Magazine, March, cover and pp16-118
1981 Murray, Jesse, Flash Art, Jan. Masheck, Joseph, “Abstract Identity: Thornton Willis”, Oct., pp126-131, reproductions pp. 126, 129, 130
1980 Cornu, Daniel, “La Peinture Abstraite en Question”, Tribune De Geneve, Dec. 16, 1980, p27

Parks, Addison, Arts Magazine, Dec., p53

Ratcliff, Carter, “55 Mercer St. Show”, Art in America, March, p116

Frackman, Noel, “The Paintings of Thornton Willis”, Arts Magazine, Nov., pp58-60
1979 Feldman, Anita, “Space and Subjectivity”, Artforum, Sept., pp49-53

Boyce, David, “Interview with Thornton Willis”, Arts Magazine, Nov.,


Tom Armstrong, A Singular Vision: Architecture Art Landscape, Copyright 2011, Library of Congress Catalogue Card #978-1-59372-043-8 Frontispiece pp.1, 207 Printed by Quantuck Lane Press, NY, Distributed by W.W. Norton and Company, NY
Carrier, David, “The Aesthete in the City; The Philosophy and Practice of American Abstract Painting in the 1980s,” The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park Pennsylvania, 1994, Chapters 10 (p188) and 13 (p 225)
Clayton, Alec, As If Art Matters: Reviews and Commentary, Clayton Works, Olympia, WA. copyright 2004, cover image, “Thornton Willis,” pp33-5
Belamy, Peter, The Artists Project: Portrait of the Real Art World: New York Artists 1981-1990, introduction by Neil Printz, IN Publishing, NY, NY, 1991
Masheck, Joseph, “Historical Present: Essays of the 1970s,” Contemporary American Art Critics, No. 3, edited by Donald Kuspit, UMI Research Press, Michigan, 1984, Chapter 22, pp249-257, “Thornton Willis and Abstract Identity”

Honors and Awards

2004 Southern Mississippi College of Arts and Letters,
Wall of Fame
2001 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation,
Painting Fellowship
1991 Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Fellowship
1984 National Endowment for the Arts,
Printmaking Fellowship
1980 National Endowment for the Arts,
Painting Fellowship
1979 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation,
Painting Fellowship

Selected Full Time Teaching and Guest Lectures, Honorariums

Marywood University Scranton, PA
The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
Carnegie-Melon University Pittsburgh, PA
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA
Louisiana State University New Orleans, LA
New York University New York, NY
Pratt Institute New York, NY
Princeton University Princeton, NJ
S.U.N.Y. Purchase, NY
University of Nebraska Omaha, NE
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
Wagner College Staten Island, NY