A San Francisco native, Grant sailed around Cape Horn to England at the age of twelve, where, at his father's wish, he attended the Fife Academy in Scotland. Later he spent three years of additional study at the Heatherley art schools in London.
Returning to America in 1896, he became a well known illustrator for many of the leading periodicals of the period. Shortly after World War I he became a full time marine artist, painting in both oil and watercolors. He concentrated on historic sail subjects and exhibited widely in America and at the Paris salon. He also wrote and illustrated a number of books on the sea.
In 1925 Grant made a voyage to the Bering sea in the sailing ship STAR OF ALASKA, now preserved in San Francisco under her original name BALCLUTHA. Grant was one of the best known and most successful practitioners of marine art of his day. Today his paintings grace many of the most important marine art collections in the country.