Biography: William M. Hekking was born in Wisconsin, the son of a mariner whose stories of the sea imbued the artist with love of seascapes and portrayals of native peoples of Canada's North Atlantic coast. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1908 and then studied with Howard Pyle for two years. He also attended the Art Students League in New York and the Académie Julian in Paris.
After service in World War 1, he spent summers on the Maine coast and working in wilderness preservation groups.
Hekking became director of the Museum and Art School of the Columbus, Ohio, Gallery of fine arts; the Los Angeles Museum of Art, and the Buffalo Art Institute. As an art critic, he wrote for the Buffalo Evening News from 1931-34. He chaired the sculpture division of the New York World's Fair of 1939 and served as Fine Arts Commissioner for the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial. From 1924-31, he was director of the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.
In 1930, Hekking began a series of journeys to the Arctic, Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland. In 1954, he exhibited scenes of people of the Grenfel Mission, a group of Eskimo settlements in northern Newfoundland and Labrador, at the Doll and Richards Gallery of Boston. Many were portraits of individuals Hekking knew in these areas and show aspects of their life and culture.
In the early 1930s, Hekking provided advice to the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts about the construction of their new building (now the Delaware Art Museum).