William Ashby McCloy lived in Nanking and Shanghai, China until the age of thirteen, returning to the United States in 1926. He received his first training in art at the State University of Iowa in 1930 and graduated with a B.A. in Art. He spent one-year at Yale School of Fine Arts before returning to Iowa for graduate study in the Psychology of Art receiving a M.A. in 1936.
At Yale, he studied painting with Eugene Savage and back at Iowa studied printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky, sculpture with Humbert Albrizio and also painting with Eugene Ludens. In 1937 he became Assistant Professor of Art at Drake University for two years. In 1939 he moved to the University of Wisconsin and remained until 1948.
He was Mural Assistant to John Steuart Curry on three murals and executed two major mural commissions himself (1939-1943).
He spent 1943-1946 in the US Army where he served as a Clinical Psychologist. Returning to State University in Iowa he received a M.F.A in Painting in 1949 under the G.I. Bill and again later a PhD in Art History in 1958. Between 1950-1954 he was Director of the School of Art at the University of Manitoba leaving there to take over as Chairman of the Art Department at Connecticut College retiring as Professor of Art emeritus in 1978.
Exhibited: The Chicago Art Institute, the National Academy of Design, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Library of Congress, the Joslyn Memorial Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Toronto Art Gallery, and the Winninpeg Art Gallery.
He painted murals for Truax Field, the Wisconsin State Historical Society, and the University of Manitoba. His sculpture is at Connecticut College, the Norwich Free Academy and the Public Library of New London.
His work is included in the permanent collections of The Library of Congress; Wolfsonian Institution, Miami, Florida; the Slater Memorial Museum Norwich, Connecticut as well as numerous public and private collections.
His work is illustrated in "American Expressionism: Art & Social Change" by Bram Dijkstra.
Biography by David Martin, Martin-Zambito Fine Art