William Beard (painter)

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William Beard, self-portrait
The Lost Balloon , 1882

William Holbrook Beard (born April 13, 1823 in Painesville , Ohio , † February 20, 1900 in New York City ) was an American painter who was best known for his animal paintings .


As a self-taught artist, Beard began his career together with his older brother James Henry Beard (1814-1893) as a traveling portrait painter and settled in Buffalo in 1850 for a few years . Here he was the leading exponent of a developing artistic body. In 1856 he went to Europe and practiced his art in Rome , Switzerland and Germany . Between 1857 and 1858 he stayed in Düsseldorf , where he made the acquaintance of the American artists Albert Bierstadt , Emanuel Leutze and Worthington Whittredge as well as of Sanford Robinson Gifford who worked here . In 1859 he returned to Buffalo for two years, where he met his future wife Caroline LeClaire, the daughter of the already prominent portrait and genre painter Thomas LeClaire . The wedding took place on July 7, 1863; she had two children: a daughter, who died in childhood in 1865, and a son Wolcott (Will), born in 1867. From 1861 Beard moved to New York , where he was elected a member of the National Academy of Design in 1862 has been. In 1866, Beard took the travel writer Bayard Taylor on a horse and stagecoach that took him through Kansas to Denver , Colorado , to make sketches and studies of future paintings in his New York studio. About Nebraska and the South Platte and South Platte River Route, on which they met the Chicago artists Henry Arthur Elkins (1847-1884), Henry Chapman Ford (1828-1894) and James F. Gookins (1840-1904), and with the The friends returned to New York by train via Omaha. For more than 40 years he worked in a studio in the Studio Building , built in 1857 , 10th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City. Here he devoted himself, like his brother James Beard , to the representation of monkeys, bears and other animals, often in a humorous and satirical manner, which became extremely popular. Examples of his works are The Bear Dance , Cats and Dogs , The Naughty Boys and, from recent years, The Coming Spring , The Horse Market (both 1875), The Dance Lesson (1877), The Old Silenus and 1878 at the Paris exhibition The Shipwrecked . He also designed fountains and monuments, including a memorial for Central Park in New York, illustrated children's books, and published two illustrated books on humor in Animals , New York 1885, and Action in Art (plot in of art), New York 1895.

1879 his paintings were The Bulls and Bears in the Market ( The bulls and bears of Wall Street ) and (1880) The bears of Wall Street to celebrate the fallen course , with descriptions of the scenes in front of the New York Stock Exchange ; both pictures and a self-portrait of the artist in the studio are now in the possession of the New York Historical Society . The artist's grave, which is identified by the life-size sculpture of a bear sitting on the headstone, is located in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (NY).

Other works (selection)

  • Forest scene (1856): Brooklyn (NY), The Brooklyn Museum of Art.
  • Deer on the Prairie (1860); On the Prairie (steel engraving 1890): Self Portrait : Kearney (Nebraska), MONA Museum of Nebraska Art.
  • The March of Selenus (1862): Buffalo (NY), Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
  • Santa Claus (1862): Providence (RI), Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art.
  • Susanna and the Elders (1865): New Hampshire (MA), Currier Gallery of Art.
  • Why Puppy Looks Like Grandpa! (1874): Vermont (MA), St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.
  • The Wreckers (1874): Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Majestic Stag (1883); So you wanna get married, eh? (1886); Black Bear (1889): Jackson Hole (Wyoming), National Museum of Wild Life Art.
  • The Lost Balloon (1882): Washington, DC, Smithsonian American Art Museum (and the Renwick Gallery).
  • His Majesty Receives (1885): Indianapolis (IN), Indianapolis Museum of Art.
  • School Rules (1887): Bentonville (AR), Crystal Bridges Art Museum.
  • After dinner discourse ; Bear and cubs ; The Fox Hunter's Dream (1859); The Birdwatcher (1863); Bears in the Watermelon Patch (1871); The Disputed Way (1889); Discovery of Adam (1891) and on: all in private collections.


  • Henry T. Tuckerman: Book of the Artist. New York 1867 (reprinted in New York 1969).
  • Clara Erskine Clement, Laurence Hutton: Artists of the Nineteenth Century and Their Works. A Handbook containing two thausend and fifty biographical sketches. Boston, New York 1884 (reprinted in St. Louis 1969).
  • Edmund von Mach : Beard, William . In: Ulrich Thieme , Felix Becker (Hrsg.): General Lexicon of Fine Artists from Antiquity to the Present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker. tape 3 : Bassano – Bickham . Wilhelm Engelmann, Leipzig 1909, p. 111 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  • Wolfgang Müller-Singer (Ed.): General artist lexicon. Life and works of the most famous visual artists. prepared by Hermann Alexander Müller, edited by Hans Wolfgang Singer. Literary Institution Rütten & Loening, Frankfurt / Main 1921, Volume 1, 1921; Volume 5 (Supplements), 1921.
  • Geore C. Groce, David H. Wallace: The New York historical society's dictionary of artists in America 1564-1860. New Haven (CT) 1957.
  • Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone (Ed.): Dictionary of American Biography. 10 volumes. New York 1958; Supplementary volume: New York 1958.
  • William Young (Ed.): A Dictionary of American Artists, Sculptors and Engravers. From the beginnings through the turn of the Twentieth Century. Cambridge (MA) 1968.
  • Emanuel Bénézit (Ed.): Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays. Volume I, 1976.
  • Andreas Beyer , Günter Meißner: General artist lexicon. The visual artists of all times and peoples. (AKL), Volume 8: Bayonne – Benech. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-598-22748-5 .
  • Hans Paffrath (Ed.): Lexicon of the Düsseldorf School of Painting 1819–1918. Volume 1: Abbema – Gurlitt. Published by the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf in the Ehrenhof and by the Paffrath Gallery. Bruckmann, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-7654-3009-9 , pp. 86-87 (Fig .: forest creatures ) and other literature.

Individual evidence

  1. nationalacademy.org: Past Academicians “B” / Beard, William Holbrook NA 1862 ( Memento of the original from August 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed June 17, 2015). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.nationalacademy.org
  2. William W. Savage, Jr., James H. Lazalier (Eds.): Colorado. A Summer Trip by Bayard Taylor. University Press of Colorado, 1989. Reprinted in 2010.
  3. Gary Zaruba (2011), In: Museum of Nebraska Art: William Holbrook Beard mona.unk.edu ( Memento of the original from September 10, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / mona.unk.edu
  4. Fig .: Glenn Collins: Green-Wood Cemetery Builds a Collection . In: The New York Times . December 6, 2008, ISSN  0362-4331 ( nytimes.com ).
  5. ^ William Holbrook Beard - Artworks.

Web links

Commons : William Holbrook Beard  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files