Edward J. Bierly was born in Buffalo, New York,
in 1920, the last of the three children of Raymond Bierly, a
detective in the Buffalo Police Department. His mother soon
found that by supplying a large sheet of white wrapping paper
(used) and a fat lead pencil she could leave little Eddie alone
and go shopping, confident that he wouldn't budge until all
the white space was covered with animals, airplanes, battleships,
etc. By the time he was five years old he knew he wanted to
be an artist.
After graduation from high school Mr. Bierly
worked for a while as a surveyor to make enough money to attend
Pratt Institute. After only six months at Pratt, however, he
was drafted for service in World War II and spent the next four
years in the Army-two in Europe. Most of this time he was in
camouflage work. Discharged in early 1946 as a First Lieutenant,
he attended the University of Buffalo until 1949 when he received
a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
After graduation, he and Edith Brock, who had
known each other from childhood, married and settled in Florida.
Lack of opportunities in Florida prompted a move to New York.
Life began to improve in New York, but then Uncle Sam called
in many reserve officers and Ed spent another 17 months in the
In 1956 he joined the National Park Service
as a designer of natural history and historical exhibits in
new visitor centers. During his time at Fort Belvoir and with
the National Park Service he did free lance wildlife artwork
for various state and national wildlife publications, and illustrated
He then was appointed as a museum consultant
to the government of Rhodesia. Africa captivated Ed. His time
there inspired him to migrate from illustration to fine art.
He is well known for his paintings of African wildlife. A very
successful one-man show at Abercrombie and Fitch in 1968 solidified
his career. He retired from the National Park Service in 1970
and free-lanced full time.
Ed has had exhibits in the New York Natural
History Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, The Royal Ontario
Museum, and the National Audubon Society. He is a three-time
winner of the federal duck stamp contest with Red-breasted Mergansers
(1956), Brant (1960), and Ross' Geese (1970).