William Heydt was born in 1949 and grew up in New York. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where he began visiting Newport and enjoying the ambiance of this historic city. Each year, during the summer months, Heydt traveled to Southern France where he assisted in a printmaking workshop outside of Uzes. After graduation, Heydt moved to France and studied under Stanley William Hayter for two years. While in Paris, he was awarded a studio at La Cité des Arts where he resided for a year. After traveling extensively through Europe and the near East, Heydt returned to the Ocean State to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design where he worked as a graduate assistant. After graduation, Heydt joined the faculty at Massachusetts College of Art and taught there until 1983. Looking for a change, Heydt moved to New York City, where painting and photography became his passion. The vibrancy of urban life provided rich subject matter for an artist that focuses on people and their environment. After twelve years, Heydt has now settled in Newport, Rhode Island where he currently lives with his wife and three children.
William Heydt moves through his subject matter “comme un poisson dans l’eau.” Literally translated, “like a fish through water,” the French use this term to describe a person perfectly suited to his elements. His watercolors, often reflecting the progression of seasons, draw on the people and places around him, capturing moments in bold brush strokes and vivid colors. His work chronicles the celebration of simple life whether the setting is seaside Rhode Island or the vibrant streets of Paris. Heydt’s vision reaches out to the viewer, as curator Gene Baro noted when he wrote, “we discover not so much a fresh sense of others as a sense of ourselves.”