Date: American marine painter, illustrator, and teacher, 1875–1956
Biography: William James Aylward was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and developed an early interest in marine scenes because his father was a shipbuilder of vessels that worked on the Great Lakes. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, at the Art Students League in New York City, and with several artists in Europe, as well as with Howard Pyle.
Aylward began his professional career by writing and illustrating marine history for magazines such as Harper's and Scribner's. His work also appeared in editions of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Jack London's Sea Wolf. He produced a number of advertisements featuring nautical themes.
Aylward was an award-winning artist and received a number of prizes such as the Salmagundi Club's Shaw Purchase Prize and the Philadelphia Color Club's Beck Prize for his work before World War I.
During World War I, Aylward was selected as an official war artist in March, 1918. Commissioned as a captain, he joined the American Expeditionary Force in France. He recorded activities of the ports and transportation systems developed to support industrial warfare and, after the armistice, he painted related scenes at the port of Marseilles. After the war, he exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1924 and the National Academy of Design in 1925.
The December, 1914, issue of The Countryside Magazine and Suburban Life featured an article by Lucy B. Jerome, covering Aylward's studio, located in an old stable, in Glen Ridge, NJ. Aylward acquired the stable from the paintiner George Inness, when Inness left for New York to become art editor of Century magazine.
Aylward also at the Pennsylvania Institute of Art, the School of Fine and Industrail Art in Newark, NJ, and at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY.
Aylward is buried in Bath National Cemetery in Bath, New York (plot K, 18, 4).
Delaware Art Museum
United States Army Center of Military History