William Holbrook Beard was an American painter whose choice of subjects in his paintings were most often animals and wildlife scenes. He was born in Painesville, Ohio on April 13 in the year of 1824. He would live a long life until February of 1900 and enjoy a productive career in art which would allow for the creation of a large body of work numbering in the upper hundreds of completed paintings. Williamís brother older brother James was also an artist and would often serve as a mentor to William through out his life.
The paintings of William Holbrook Beard began to gain technical proficiency when Beard began his first foray into art with portraiture. His successes in this genre of painting allowed him the opportunity to travel abroad in order to continue his studies of art and provide new subject matter for William Holbrook Beard paintings. During the year in 1856, Beard traveled abroad to Switzerland, Italy, and Germany with two artists who would grow to be lifelong friends: Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Worthington Whittredge.
Upon returning to the United States, Beard helped to set up an artist community in Buffalo, New York which would eventually become the center for an art school: The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. A few years later, Beard would relocate to New York City where the center of his art career would be located and he would find success with the development of characteristically William Holbrook Beard artwork.
In New York, Beard moved into the 10th Street Studio Building for Artists where he came one of the most successful residents. The content of the oil paintings of William Holbrook Beard was often light-hearted as it was in one of his most famous paintings, The Bear Dance. Despite the apparent comedy in this work of art, other William Holbrook Beard oil paintings were more serious and depicted animals in a beautiful natural setting which appealed to many collectors of art as well as those who appreciated satire for the content of some of his works.
The imagination which Beard made use of in order to place animals in settings where their behavior was unusual was one of the most appealing aspects of his work after the technical ability that he had in portraying the animals accurately. The popularity of the wildlife-based works allowed Beard to display his paintings in exhibits in major cities around the country which was a major boost to spreading the exposure of his name and artwork to potential buyers and collectors around the nation.
Some of the most famous William Holbrook Beard paintings are: The Bear Dance, The Wall Street Jubilee, March of Silenus, Dancing Bears, Bears and Bulls in the Market,