William Baptiste Baird was a well-known American painter of landscapes and genre scenes who lived and exhibited almost exclusively in France and England.  Born in Chicago in 1847, Baird began his professional artistic career in 1866 as a draftsman
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William Baptiste Baird
19th Century Marine Painting, by American Painter William Baird

About

William Baptiste Baird was a well-known American painter of landscapes and genre scenes who lived and exhibited almost exclusively in France and England. Born in Chicago in 1847, Baird began his professional artistic career in 1866 as a draftsman for a wood-engraver. At the same time, he studied painting and exhibited several of his small works in storefront windows. Baird’s inherent talent and his nascent career as a local artist caught the attention of two Chicagoan philanthropists, Mr. W. B. Howard and General John M. Corse, who provided the funds for Baird to travel and study in France for three years. Baird settled in Paris and studied at the studio of the Academic history painter Adolphe Yvon, whose monumental nationalistic military scenes were favored by Emperor Napoleon III during the Second French Empire. He began exhibiting at the Salon in 1872 with a historically themed genre scene entitled Le retour du prisonnier (The Return of the Prisoner). Baird quickly find much professional success in France, continuing to exhibit at the Salon for the next twenty years, especially peasant genre scenes and landscapes depicting the rural areas outside of Paris, such as the village of Barbizon and the Forest of Fontainebleau. Baird was a very versatile artist, and although he is known for his Barbizon-style landscapes and peasant genre scenes in France, the artist also exhibited in London and the United States. From 1877 to 1899, Baird exhibited Victorian-themed domestic genre scenes at the Royal Academy of Arts, including titles such as The Cares of a Family, “Catch me if you can,” Take Care!, and Taking Life Easy. During the same years he exhibited in Paris and London, Baird also participated in annual exhibitions in the United States. At the National Academy of Design in New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Baird exhibited pictures of cattle and poultry, and cock-fighting scenes. These animal paintings were coveted by American collectors, including the Philadelphian Harrison Earl, who owned a series of five cock-fighting pictures. By 1879, William Baptiste Baird had settled into a studio in Paris at 3 rue d’Odessa in the neighborhood of Montparnasse. He last exhibited at the Salon and the Royal Academy of Arts in 1899, and died in Paris that same year. THE WORK The present painting depicts the rocky shore near the town of St. Raphaël located halfway between St.Tropez and Cannes on the Mediterranean coast. In 1883, Baird exhibited a painting titled La route de Fréjus à Saint-Raphaël at the Salon in Paris. There are the only two known works by the artist that depict the area around St. Raphaël, and it is likely that this present picture dates from the same time as the first. The painting is signed and inscribed on the verso of the top member of the stretcher: “Pres St. Raphael/W B Baird/3 Rue d’Odessa, Paris.” SELECTED COLLECTIONS Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Three Chicks) Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, Calif. Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, Fla. Maryland Institute, Baltimore Sheldon Swope Museum, Terre Haute, Ind. Strong Museum, Rochester, N.Y. Wright Museum of Art, Beloit College, Wisc. Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minn. Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn.

Details

  • Artist
    William Baptiste Baird (1847 - 1899, American)
  • Medium
  • Period
  • Dimensions
    H 20 in. x W 25 in. x D 2 in.H 50.8 cm x W 63.5 cm x D 5.08 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Washington, DC
  • Reference Number
    LU123825253852
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