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Artist Biography

James G. Tyler was one of the most notable maritime painters and illustrators of his day. At the age of 15, already fascinated by the sea and its vessels, he moved from Oswego, New York to New York City in order to study under the great marine artist Archibald Cary Smith. This brief tutelage was the only formal art training Tyler ever received.

Tyler worked in New York and Providence, RI, but lived mainly in Greenwich, CT from the mid 1870s until his death in 1931. He received a number of important commissions during his lifetime, and was a regularly contributing writer and illustrator for some of the major publications of the time, including Harper's, Century, and Literary Digest.

From 1900 to 1930, Tyler traveled each year to Newport, Rhode Island, where he painted scenes from and associated with the America's Cup Race. Most of these paintings were commissioned; the remaining works were widely exhibited and critically acclaimed. He depicted a wide variety of boats, harbor and coastal scenes, seascapes, and nocturnal scenes, with ships returning to port under cover of night. His popularity was attested to not only by his commercial success, but by the appearance of at least one hundred forgeries all bearing his name.

Tyler’s paintings are in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC; Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT; Omaha Museum of Art, Omaha, NB; Mariner’s Museum, Newport News, VA; and the New York Historical Society.