January 2011, at the exhibition “Moment & Horizon: The 365 Sunsets of 2010”


Apple and Sky, 1969. Oil on canvasboard, 16 x 20.

Birthday, 1983. Oil on canvas, 36 x 48.

Trees Between Fields, 1985. Oil on canvas, 13 x 23.

Cover for ‘Albemarle’ magazine, 1987. Oil on paper, 9 x 12.

Aquamarine, 1989. Oil on illustration board, 23 x 40.

Untitled, 2000. Oil on wood panel, 11 x 14.

Tabula Rosa 1, 2010. Oil on canvas, 30 x 30.



William Van Doren

William Van Doren, based near Charlottesville, Virginia, is best known for his series of sunset paintings, including the sunset from every day for 11 consecutive years. These are in addition to the more than 1,000 sunsets Van Doren painted beginning in 1995.

A book on the series, Into the Sunset: Paintings and Notes from Four Thousand Nights, is projected for publication in 2019. In addition to the images themselves, Into the Sunset describes a process of transformation—how attention to a regularly occurring, everyday event can eventually change both the art and the artist.

A Virginia native, Van Doren attended Johns Hopkins University on a full-tuition scholarship, earning early election to Phi Beta Kappa. With no studio art program at the university, he undertook his own study of oil painting and began selling his work. This was the start of a lifelong pattern of self-taught artistic development.

Working in New York at a literary agency and in Los Angeles as editor and ghostwriter of books and film treatments, he continued painting. In L.A. he also created The Wall Paper, a poster-size publication he hand-silkscreened (including the text) and sent to subscribers in mailing tubes. Novelist Steve Erickson wrote of The Wall Paper: “The word and the image are one. The word is the image and the image is the word.” As a screenwriter Van Doren was hired to write film treatments for Five Smooth Stones and other novels, and the first-ever dramatic feature film treatment based on the then-anticipated discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic, which he drafted aboard the search vessel at Woods Hole. His original poster, L.A.’ s Rail Transit System: The One That Got Away, played an important role in bringing light rail back to southern California and is displayed in several transportation museums. Another poster, The Draft/ Is a Form of Slavery/ On a Plantation/ Called War, was included in a special exhibition of the California African American Museum and in the traveling exhibition Artists Versus World War Three. As a freelance journalist, he interviewed B.B. King, Don Cornelius, and others, for Soul magazine; as a musician, he earned three appearances on BMI Songwriters Showcase at The Improv in Hollywood. He has rewritten or ghostwritten dozens of books, including titles published by HarperCollins, William Morrow, Doubleday and others, and edited, designed and published fiction and nonfiction trade books by a variety of authors. He is the author of 47 Minutes on Christmas Eve.

Moving back to Virginia, Van Doren became editor and art director of the new magazine Albemarle, which won first prize for magazine design in Virginia with its second issue, featuring his cover painting. He has mounted three solo performance art shows combining original music and story with projections of his art and has had several solo painting exhibitions. Most recently his work was selected for the group show Transformations in Tribeca, New York, in 2018.


[Chronology Under Construction]