Wilhelm Thöny was born on 10 February 1888 as the son of a Grazer paper wholesaler. In addition to paintings, he creates numerous drawings, etchings and illustrations. As a founding member of the Munich New Secession and the Grazer Secession he gained broad publicity. After his emigration to the USA, Thöny dies in New York on 1 May 1949.
In 1907 he graduated in Graz and received piano and singing lessons alongside the school. In 1908 he went to Munich, where he studied under Gabriel Hackl and Angelo Jank. In 1913, he became the co-founder of the Munich Secession alongside Paul Klee and Albert Weisgerber. The outbreak of the war ended the study period. In 1915 he became a one-year volunteer. In the same year he married. With the work as a war painter and through various portrait assignments, the artist receives the young family. In 1918 he moved to Switzerland, hoping to achieve better economic conditions. The marriage failed a little later and Thöny returned to Munich. In 1923 he returned to Graz, and in the autumn of the same year he founded the Graz Secession together with Fritz Silberbauer, Alfred Wickenburg and Axl Leskoschek. In 1925 he met the American Thea Herrmann, the wife of his life. At the end of the 1920s, Thöny was appointed professor. In the same year he visited Paris for the first time. The city on the Seine impresses him so much that he moved to France in 1931. Paris and the South of France will be his new home for a decade. In March 1938 he emigrated to New York, where, despite some successes and numerous exhibitions, he never felt completely at home. In 1948, a fire in a warehouse in New York destroyed almost a thousand of his works, a severe fate that Thöny never recovered from. Wilhelm Thöny receives numerous honors and honors, including the Austrian State Prize and in 1937 the honorary certificate of the World Exposition in Paris.