From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Wilson, Ellis

(born: 1899  -  died: 1977) 

Ellis Wilson was born in Mayfield, KY, the son of Frank and Minnie Wilson [source: U.S. Federal Census]. He was a free-lance interior decorator and painter. Though he acquired international fame, he never made a living from painting. Wilson worked with the Federal Art Project during World War II, painting African Americans employed in war industries. His painting The Fish won the 1946 Atlanta University Purchase Award. He received the Certificate of Merit from the U.S. Treasury Dept. for donating the painting Nocturne during the war loan drive. His works were exhibited at Kentucky institutions beginning in the 1950s. For more see The Art of Ellis Wilson, by A. Sperath; and In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Graves County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Mayfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Spradling, Mary E. Mace
NKAA Source: Art of Ellis Wilson
NKAA Source: In Black and white : a guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning more than 15,000 Black individuals and groups

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Wilson, Ellis,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 24, 2020,

Last modified: 2018-01-22 23:03:45