William Ferrin Whitaker, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1943. He is a classical-realist figure painter known for sensitive drawings of women. He was formerly an artist-in-residence at Brigham Young University. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Whitaker earned a BA from the University of Utah where Alvin Gittins was his mentor. Whitaker later studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. As a student of academic and salon art, he is influenced by little-known artists who were famous in their day, J. Vibert Florent Willems and Charles Bargue.
Whitaker's work has been honored by the Springville Museum of Art, the Utah Institute of Fine Arts, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Young Woman (1976) is part of the Springville Museum of Art's permanent collection.