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Sydney Yard Biography

“A painter of California, one of the very few native-born, we have in Sydney Yard, who, from an early meticulous manner, developed a broader and decorative delineation of the northern California landscape. His medium was watercolor, and his sincerely studied and finely patterned small canvases are distributed through many California homes. His work is charming without being weak.” (The History & Ideals of American Art by Eugen Neuhaus, 1931).

Born 1855 in Rockford, Illinois, Yard began his art studies under George J. Robertson. He later studied in the British Isles where he mastered English watercolor techniques under the instruction of Royal Academician Sutton Palmer.

In 1882, after achieving some recognition in New York, Yard moved to California. For the first three years he ran several photography studios in San Jose and Palo Alto with artist friend Andrew Putnam Hill. During this time he exhibited several paintings at the San Francisco Art Association.

In 1904 Yard left San Jose and began splitting his time between studios in San Francisco and Carmel-By-The-Sea settling permanently in Carmel in 1906. A pioneer Carmel artist, Sydney Yard established one of the first studios on Lincoln and Seventh Streets.  His wife was active in the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club, and Yard exhibited frequently at The Del Monte Gallery as well as at several galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area until his death in 1909.

Best known for his watercolors, his works are primarily landscapes and coastal scenes of the Monterey Peninsula. He died there at the height of his career at the age of 54.

Exhibited: SFAA, 1896-1908; Starr King Fraternity (Oakland), 1905; Berkeley AA, 1908; Oakland Home Club, 1908; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909; Del Monte Art Gallery, 1909-1912.

In: CHS; Harrison Library (Carmel); Santa Cruz City Museum; Monterey Peninsula Museum. YAMP; H&I.

Source: YAMP/Spangenberg; Artists in California, 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes; Artists at Continent's End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875-1907 by Scott A. Shields.