William Berczy, painter, architect, colonizer (b Johann Albrecht Ulrich Moll in Wallerstein [Germany] and bap 10 Dec 1744; d at New York C 5 Feb 1813). He spent his youth in Vienna, studied in Italy and worked in England before leading a group of colonists to New York state in 1792 and, in 1794, to Markham, Upper Canada. Thereafter he considered himself a Canadian and, from 1805, relied exclusively on painting for his living, first in York [Toronto] and later in Montréal.
He became a popular portraitist, and also did some church decoration and architectural work, including the design of Christ Church in Montréal in 1803. He is best known for 2 portraits in oil: the dramatic full-length portrait of Joseph BRANT (c 1805) in colourful costume, and the group portrait The Woolsey Family (1808-09), remarkable for composition and architectural detailing and regarded as one of the masterpieces of early Canadian art.
Three Standing Figures
William Berczy, circa 1781-82, watercolour (courtesy NGC).
William Berczy, circa 1807, oil on canvas (courtesy NGC/5777).