William Thon (1906-2000)
William Thon, an expressionist painter of boats and water, houses, trees, and birds, was diagnosed with macular degeneration in 1991, the year before he was interviewed by Robert Brown for the Archives of American Art. In the interview, Thon mentions that he had not been able to paint in oil for a year and was working entirely on white paper with black paint, since he couldn’t see color much anymore. “Sometimes I get something pleasing,” he said, “and sometimes not. I don’t see any detail at all. I’m supposed to have a show at Midtown, this new work, somewhere around October of ’93, so I’ll be working now all winter with that goal in view.”
A few years later, Thon’s method of working with macular degeneration was captured on film when he held a painting demonstration at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The first painting on the right, "Maine Winter", was completed during this period of time.