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In the early twentieth century, William McGregor Paxton was a prominent American painter who became part of the Boston School paradigm. He co-founded the Guild of Boston Artists and was a founding member of the group. He studied at the Museum of Fine Arts School in the city of Cambridge and briefly taught at Cowles Art Institute. In 1922, he met his wife, Elizabeth Okie Paxton.

He is best known for his paintings of the Boston area. He painted murals in the city for the Army and Navy Club in New York and the St. Botolph's Club in Boston. Paxton was also a lithographer and an etcher. His studios were located in East Gloucester and Provincetown. In 1928, he was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design.

Paxton studied at the Boston Art School on a scholarship. During his Paris residency, he studied under Jean-Leon Gerome and exhibited at the Academie Julian. His interest in the Dutch master Jan Vermeer fueled his artistic talent. After graduating from Cowles, Paxton traveled to Paris where he met Elizabeth Vaughan Okie, whom he later married. This relationship was not without complications, and his wife, Elizabeth Vaughan Okie, helped manage his career.

Paxton's paintings of women are among his most famous works. Besides depicting women, he also painted portraits of prominent figures from American society. He was also a major player in the founding of American Impressionism. He was well-known for his paintings of outdoor scenes and the social life of upper class families, including hotel verandahs and croquet games. As a result of this, he was often referred to as the "court painter of Philadelphia."

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