Willard Bond, best known for his original sailing action paintings, died May 19 at age 85 in Yountville, Calif., of congestive heart failure.
Bond recently moved to California to be closer to his daughter, Gretchen Bond de Limur, the New York Times said in an obituary.
His work, inspired by the constant action of sailboats at sea, earned him a huge following from the sailing community. Through five decades as a marine artist, Bond created hundreds of watercolor and oil paintings, “everything from cruising sailboats to America’s Cup yachts,” said Jeffrey Schaub, owner of the Annapolis Marine Art Gallery in Maryland and a longtime representative of Bond.
He said Bond originals sell for as much as $30,000, his limited-edition lithographs for as much as $1,000 and his posters for as much as $45.
Bond’s work has been featured in several magazines and books on marine art. His work appeared in "Bound for Blue Water," a comprehensive study of the best of marine art and artists authored by marine art authority Russell Jinishian. He says, "Bond creates paintings, not around what the boats look like, but what it feels like to be aboard or nearby, watching them move fast — big, speeding boats often only inches apart”. His paintings reflect what it’s really like to be in the heart of a sailing race.
Bond graduated in 1949 from the Pratt Institute in New York. He spent time in Manhattan as an oil painter and ceramic muralist.
He grew up sailing on Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. He also had experience on battleships, cruisers and destroyer escorts while serving in the South Pacific during World War II, and he worked as a pier master and had the opportunity to sail on Freedom Syndicate during the 1984 America's Cup series.