Wednesday, March 03, 2010

J. Jay Barber, Artist

John Jay Barber was born in Sandusky in 1840, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Barber. He usually signed his name as J. Jay Barber. In the 1860 U.S. Census for Erie County, J. Jay Barber was listed as a law student. According to a biographical sketch of J. Jay Barber in the book Artists in Ohio, 1787 -1900, he entered the Bar in 1862, and he served briefly as a soldier in the Civil War. After the war, Barber focused on his love of painting. His specialty was landscape scenes including cattle. By 1871, J. Jay Barber had an art studio in Columbus, Ohio, where he pursued his craft and he also worked as a bank clerk. According to the Genealogy of the Breck Family, in 1871, J. Jay Barber married Amy Breck in Newton, Massachusetts. The couple had a daughter named Jessie in 1874.

Paintings by J. Jay Barber were usually set in Ohio. Mr. Barber’s sketch in Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900, states that the cows painted by J. Jay Barber were not “ordinary run-of-the-herd animals, but well known individuals like Pride of Eastwood, a Jersey cow, better known as Fannie.” J. Jay Barber won several awards for his artwork, including several awards from the Ohio State Fair. He exhibited his works at the National Academy of Design in the 1880’s. In 1882, Rutherford B. Hayes purchased a painting of a cow painted by J. Jay Barber. An image of the painting can be seen at the Object Catalog of the R. B. Hayes Presidential Center.

A sepia print signed by J. Jay Barber can be seen at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. (Ask Reference Services staff for more information.)
A large oil painting of four cows and a calf by J. Jay Barber can be seen at The Follett House Museum. Historical notes from our files indicate that it is thought that the scene was painted from a scene at Big Island, near Cedar Point.

Amy Breck Barber passed away in 1889, and she is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus. After the death of his wife, and then his daughter, J. Jay Barber became despondent. Sadly, he took his own life on November 27, 1910. He is buried near his wife in Greenlawn Cemetery. An obituary for J. Jay Barber is found on the front page of the November 29, 1910 of the Sandusky Register.


halloween2brenda said...

how was his obit on the front page of the paper before his death?

Sandusky Library Archives Research Center said...

Oops. . . . typo fixed.

Anonymous said...

Where is Big Island near Cedar Point?

I have a similar painting by local artist Ralph S. Tebbutt and was always told the scene was by Cedar Point but not exactly where. Was this a popular place to paint cows?

Anonymous said...

Big Island Water Works is located at: 2425 First Street in Sandusky, Ohio.