William Holbrook Beard

William Holbrook Beard was an American painter known for satirical paintings of animals, especially bears, that participate in human activities. His most notable works are The Bear Dance and The Poor Indian. Beard’s humorous handling of bears, cats, dogs, horses and monkeys gained him notoriety. His animal’s featured occupations or expressions that are typically only available to humans. As such, his works often became satires and well reproduced. Beard was born in Painesville, Ohio. His brother, James Henry Beard was also a painter, and they studied abroad together at the Düsseldorf School of Painting. Beard eventually moved to New York where he became a member of the National Academy of Design. Beard opened his own studio that housed other artists as well. He married, had a daughter who died young, and a son named Wolcott. Beard died of apoplexy in 1900.

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