American, 1824 – 1900
William Holbrook Beard (1824 – 1900) came from Plainsville, Ohio to New York via a period studying abroad. In the 1860s he established his own own artist’s studio on Tenth Street in New York City in a building known as the Studio Building.
He then began a fantastic mind dump onto canvas the like of which had never been seen, let alone imagined. By anyone.
In particular, Beard unburdened himself of surreal, satirical paintings featuring various beasts (in particular monkeys) performing, as humans, in human scenarios.
Not restricting his madness to just animals-as-humans satire, Beard covered thousands of yards of canvas with an outpouring of his own brand of ominous and strangely unnerving dark ideas.
Beard was prolific artist. His idiosyncratic treatment of bears, cats, dogs, horses and monkeys, generally with some human occupation, allusion or sensibility, usually satirical, earnt him great vogue at one time. His paintings were much reproduced, his strange, uneasy world experienced by the multitudes.
His brother, James Henry Beard (1814–1893), also an artistic painter, was nowhere near as interesting.