James Bard

(1815-1897)

James Bard was born in 1815 in Chelsea, NYC with a twin brother John. He was a self-taught marine artist with a keen interest in steamboats and small sailing vessels. James and John worked closely together, producing their first painting at the age of twelve and consequently forming a partnership in 1831. Together they recorded many of the important ships passing through the Long Island Sound and Hudson River, NYC. The accurate observances in these paintings are still quite important to historians of navigation. Their collaborative paintings, over 350 in all, were most often signed J. & J. Bard. In 1850 James' brother John abandon the partnership for unknown reasons. However, James continued painting quite successfully due to the increase in shipbuilding throughout the 1850s. Various forms of signature and address appear in the lower right corner of Bard's paintings as an invitation to prospective buyers to visit his studio. James Bard completed over 4,000 paintings, the last dated 1890 just seven years before his death. The National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. exhibited Bard's retrospective in 1987.