WILLIAM HOLBROOK BEARD ~ The Friendly Rehearsal

This accomplished artist was born in Painesville, Ohio, in 1824. Beard began his career as a portrait painter in New York City and in 1856 he traveled to Italy, Germany, and Switzerland with Hudson River artists Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford and Thomas Worthington Whittredge. In 1858, Beard briefly settled in Buffalo, New York, helping to establish an art community that eventually culminated in the establishment of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy in 1862. In 1859, Beard moved to New York City and opened a studio in the renowned Tenth Street Studio Building, specially built in 1857 to house artists. At that time, Edwin Church, William Merrit Chase, Albert Bierstadi, and Winslow Homer were fellow resident artists. Beard exhibited extensively in New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Montreal, San Francisco, and Boston, but he reserved his best work for exhibition at the National Design Academy in New York City.

Beard became an immensely popular animal painter, and he painted a large variety of animals, favoring rabbits, cats, monkeys, squirrels, and especially bears. Both lauded and criticized for his humorous satires, he often substituted animals for humans in his visual social commentary. He represented the condition of man and universal concerns by painting allegorical and fantasy subjects. He also produced work drawn from high and low literature, depicting characteristics of jealousy, pride, drunkenness, and greed.

Beard was a member of the National Academy of Design and the Century Association. His work is recognized in many private collections and museums, including the Harvard University Art Museum; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Joslyn Art Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Nebraska Art; National Museum of Wildlife Art; New-York Historical Society; Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.

This wonderful example of his work is presented in excellent condition and is signed and dated by the artist.

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1824 – 1900

Title: “The Friendly Rehearsal”

Date: 1879

Size: Height 25 inches Width 32 1/4 inches (framed)