William Berra was born in York, Pennsylvania. As a child he constantly sketched and painted. By high school he was copying Neo-Classic painters and old masters, and he supplemented high school classes with attendance at the York Academy of Art. During his one year at the Maryland Institute College of Art he experimented with Abstract expressionism, but realized that it was not for him. He decided to strike out on his own, traveling throughout North America, capturing the landscape in studies painted en plein air.
While traveling cross country in 1976, Berra arrived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was taken with the landscape and the light. A winter storm stranded him and he has made it his home ever since.
Berra’s work was chosen for the 1978 Biennial Exhibition at the New Mexico Museum of Art. A Canyon Road gallery in Santa Fe saw the exhibition, offered him a show and representation and William Berra’s career as a professional artist was born. He spent the 1980s primarily painting Northern New Mexico en plein air. In the 1990s Berra began to spend more time painting in the studio, developing material gathered in plein air sketches and photographs. He expanded his horizons and his subject matter, traveling and painting landscapes in Europe, Hawaii and throughout North America.
William Berra continues to paint landscapes of Europe, both city and country. He makes annual trips to the Hawaiian Islands, where dramatic scenery and weather inspire atmospheric landscape paintings.
Berra has appeared in over 40 solo and group shows and exhibitions. His work has been the subject of many articles, appearing in American Art Collector, Western Art and Architecture, and Southwest Art to name a few. His paintings are in collections all over the country and are also included in public and corporate collections, both in the United States and abroad.
William Berra lives with his wife, Alanna, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Santa Fe. Alanna is his business partner and a frequent model in his paintings.