Active in the North Shore, Newton, and Rockport, Massachusetts art associations, James Bonnar was known for his murals in private homes and institutions as well as his autumn and winter harbor and marine paintings of Vermont and New Hampshire.
He was born in North Adams, MA and lived in Newtonville, MA. Bonnar graduated from the Massachusetts School of Art where his teachers included Joseph DeCamp, and Ernest Major. He was the president of the Copley Society of Boston and the Business Men's Art Club of Boston and was a member of the Rockport and North Shore Art Associations. and was a member of the so-called Rockport school of artists along with Emile Gruppe, Aldro Hibbard and Anthony Thieme.
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"