William deGarthe was born in Finland and began his art education at Helsingfors before coming to Canada in 1926. His first formal art education in Canada was at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts under Edmond Dyonnet. He moved to Nova Scotia in 1945 and began to study oil painting under Stanley Royle at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. He later studied marine painting in Rockport Massachusetts under Stanley Woodward, followed by Emile Gruppe in East Gloucester , Massachusetts and George Groz at the Art Students’ League in New York City. Overseas he also studied at the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere in Paris, France as well as Academie Julian in Paris and the Academie Del Belle Arti in Rome, Italy. He was a member of the Nova Scotia Society of Artists, the Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts, the Maritime Art Association, the International Institute of Arts and Letters and the Nova Scotia Arts council.