Walter Gay (January 22, 1856 - July 15, 1937) was an American painter born at Hingham, Massachusetts. He married heiress Matilda E. Travers, the daughter of William R. Travers, a prominent New York City investor and co-founder of Saratoga Race Course.
In 1876 the couple moved to Paris, France where Walter Gay became a pupil of Leon Bonnat. They lived in an apartment on the Left Bank and in 1907 purchased Chateau Le Bréau on a 300-acre (1.2 km2) walled park near the Forest of Fontainebleau.
Walter Gay received an honorable mention in the Paris Salon of 1885; a gold medal in 1888, and similar awards at Vienna (1894), Antwerp (1895), Berlin (1896) and Munich (1897). He became an Officer of the Legion of Honor and a member of the Society of Secession, Munich. Works by him are in the Luxembourg, the Tate Gallery (London), and the Boston and Metropolitan (New York) Museums of Art. His compositions are mainly figure subjects portraying French peasant life. In 1904, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician.
When Walter Gay died in 1937 his obituary in The New York Times described him as the "dean of American artists in Paris." The following year the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a memorial exhibition of his work.
His widow remained at their home in France which was taken over by German officers following the German occupation of France during World War II. A virtual prisoner in her own home, Matilda Travers Gay died there in 1943.