James Bard (1815-1897)


The twin brothers, John and James Bard were self-taught ship portraitists who created accurate paintings of the steamships and sailing craft which operated around New York, Long Island Sound and the Hudson River areas. Because the vessels depicted were drawn to exact scale after intensive personal observation and measurements, paintings by James Bard and his brother are considered extremely important to the history of navigation.

By 1839, the brothers had gone their separate ways. James Bard continued to paint at a tremendous rate, completing more than 430 known paintings during his lifetime, and quite reasonably, hundreds more. His most enduring legacy is the important record he created of almost every steamship that operated on the Hudson River during the last half of the Nineteenth Century.

Bard's stylistic seas and skies are skillfully combined with draftsman-like quality in the careful rendering of his vessels. Movement is shown with a spray of water made up of a profusion of small white dots. His works are all exuberant and filled with a sense of Americana that capture with simplistic beauty the flavor of an age that will not be seen again.

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