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James Bard
Date: 1815–1897
Remarks: James Bard, and his twin brother John, were born on Elm Street (now Lafayette) in New York City in 1815, the son of an English-born father and a Scotch-born mother. When the boys were about twelve years old, they started painting watercolor depictions of water vessels and steamboats. The Bard brothers first dated their work about 1836, and in 1838 they were listed in the New York City directory as "painters." From 1845 to 1839, James lived on Perry Street, before moving to Waverly Place of Washington Square. After John died in 1856, he continued to paint steamboats and had a large clientele among the gentile builders, owners, and operators stationed in the city. His work reflects the optimism, energy, adn vitality of the commerce and mercantile activity of New York City and the surrounding region at midscentury. In 1842 he exhibited two watercolors at the American Institute's annual fair. His last known work was a sketch for a friend, dated 1892. The following year he moved with his wife and daughter to White Plains, New York, where he died on March 26, 1897. There are nearly four hundred extant works by the Bards (mostly by James); the largest collection is in the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia.