William Acheff ( b. 1947 )

San Juan Pueblo Pots | 20 x 30 | oil on canvas | contact gallery

Color in the Forest, 2004 | 40 x 30 | oil on canvas | contact gallery


Bill Acheff came to fine art from an interesting perspective.  He was born in Alaska and is of Irish, Russian, and Native American heritage.  Although he is now known as one of the premier painters of the trompe l’ oeill method (fool the eye), his early career did not begin as an artist.  His family moved to California when he was just a few years old.  In high school he took as many art classes as he could and was strongly encouraged by his teachers to pursue art as a career.  However, Acheff did not pursue art and decided to enter a more financially stable career as a barber.  In 1968 one of his customers was famed Italian art instructor Roberto Lupetti.  Lupetti took Acheff in as a student and after only a month, Lupetti was so impressed with Acheff’s ability that he decided to train Acheff on a more serious level.    It was under Lupetti that Acheff honed his expertise as a trompe l’ oeill painter.

Acheff  then moved to Taos, New Mexico in the early seventies and became so enamored with Indian artifacts that decided to incorporate them into his paintings.  This would become his trademark as an artist.  He met critical success in 1978 when his one man show of works sold out completely at a local gallery. Since that time Acheff has won major national awards.  He has won the Purchase Award from the Prix de West Show and Sale twice in 1989 and 2004.  Acheff has also won the Purchase Award from the equally prestigious Masters of the American West Show and Sale at the Autry National Center in 1998.  His work is in some of the finest private collections of Western Art in America.  In addition, his work has been acquired by such venerable art museums as the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum, and the Fred Jones Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.

Known as one of the most talented artists employing the trompe l’ oeil (fool the eye) method, William Acheff has won over numerous collectors, dealers, and museums for his extremely high level of skill in employing this technique.  His masterful still life paintings, which often incorporate Navajo rugs, pueblo pottery, and a painting by a legendary western painter, give his works an old master quality reminiscent of the 16th century Dutch painters.   Although Acheff nurtured a passion for art as a child, he was not always a painter.  He pursued a career as a barber for many years.  It was a chance encounter with noted art instructor, Roberto Luppetti, who visited Acheff’s barber shop, that transformed Acheff’s life.  Acheff was invited to Luppetti’s studio and began taking art classes in the late sixties.  Since that time he has earned numerous honors and awards, including two Prix de West Purchase Awards in 1989 and 2004.