William decided to continue his father and learned the jewelry business. In 1867, he met with Anselm Feuerbach who encouraged him to paint. Trubner, studied painting at the State Academy of fine arts in Karlsruhe in the years 1867-1868 from Theodore Dietz. In 1868 he transferred to the art Academy in Munich and continued his studies at Alexander Wagner. At the first international art exhibition in Munich a huge impression on Trubner made of the work of Gustave Courbet and William Laible.
Trubner moved to Stuttgart to continue training with Hans Canon. However, in 1870, he returned to Munich and studied with Wilhelm von Diez. He became acquainted with albert lang and Carl Shuham, with whom traveled to paint landscapes around the Starnberger see lake. At this time, Trubner personally met Leiblum, who advised him to gain independence from the academic system of education. Trubner began working in a Studio with lang and Hans Toma and was in close connection with the so-called "circle Lable".
In 1872 William Trubner went to his first long overseas journey. The first trip took place in Italy, then in subsequent years, Trubner visited the Netherlands and Belgium. In 1875, Trubner he finally settled in Munich. After 1877, in his work, he turned to mythological and literary subjects, working in a naturalistic manner. In 1880-e years of Trubner been linked by friendly relations with Lovis Corinth, max Slevogt and max Liebermann. As Volume, Trubner helped with the orders of the Frankfurt architect Simon Ravenstein. In 1889, the Berlin gallery "Gurlitt" organized an exhibition of the works of William Trubner.
After the exhibition, Trubner turned to landscape painting. In 1895 he moved to Frankfurt and worked at the Städel art Institute. His works on art theory were published in 1892 and 1898. In 1901, Trubner joined the Berlin secession. In the years 1903-1917, Trubner served as a Professor at the State Academy of fine arts in Karlsruhe, and in 1904-1910 years has held the post of its Director. In 1911, a local Association of artists organized a large exhibition of the works of William Trubner, followed by the exhibition in the Berlin secession in 1913.
In 1917, Wilhelm Trubner was invited to work at the Berlin Academy of arts, but he could not accept the offer for health reasons. Trubner, died in the same year in Karlsruhe.