James Gale Tyler (1855-1931)
Birthplace/Origin: Oswego, New York
A maritime painter and illustrator, who became very well known during his lifetime, James G. Tyler was born in Oswego, New York. Underscoring his success and prominence is that fact that his signature appeared on at least 100 forged paintings. Later, at the height of his career, he successfully took legal action against forgers through the District Attorney of New York City.
His interest in marine subjects began early, as by age 15 he was showing fascination with the ocean and seagoing vessels. He moved to New York City where, studying with A. Cary Smith, he took his only formal art lessons. Tyler’s signature painting became known for the emphasis on mood and impression rather than for detailed realism.
About his career, it was written that “No aspect of maritime life escaped Tyler’s attention. In addition to painting all types of boats-from old sloops to clipper ships-he painted a variety of seamen, coastal scenes and seascapes.”
He got much of his subject matter from his yearly travels between 1900 and 1930 to Newport, Rhode Island to paint scenes from the America’s Cup Race. Many important illustration commissions as well as painting requests came his way during his lifetime. mong his illustration clients were publishers of Harper’s, Century and Literary Digest.
James Tyler was primarily a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, but the year he died, 1931, he moved to Pelham, New York.
American Art Analog, Volume II, compiled by Michael David Zellman in association with American Art Analog, 1986, p. 513