Born in Sydney in 1930, William Rose moved to Newcastle as a small child and spent most of his next twenty years here. He moved to Sydney in 1950 where he studied briefly at East Sydney Technical College and Julian Ashton’s Art School.
In 1956 he exhibited in Direction 1, one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary art in Australia (the other exhibitors were Olsen, Klippel, Eric Smith and John Passmore). The paintings which Rose exhibited in Direction 1 – dense structures of intersecting blue lines on pale grounds – established a style which Rose has continued to refine over the past three decades.
In 1982 he had a successful exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York.