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16 Cool Vintage Polar Bear Art Prints Free To Download

Explore a handpicked collection of polar bear art prints, all in the public domain. Download stunning, high-resolution images of Ursus maritimus for a dash of winter wildlife in your art projects or home interiors.

As I listened to a lively debate on the radio about zoos and their place in today’s world, I couldn’t stop thinking about polar bears. Poor Misha’s story, a polar bear who lived a hard life at Bristol Zoo, got to me. It made me want to celebrate these stunning creatures more happily.

So, I’ve assembled an excellent collection of vintage polar bear art prints. They’re all top-notch and free to grab! Whether you’re decking out your walls or appreciate an excellent Ursus maritimus sketch, you’re in for a treat.

Best of all, this vintage polar bear wall art is in the Public Domain, which means no copyright worries—download and print away! They’re perfect for adding a touch of arctic charm to your home decor or even serving as inspiration for artists seeking a muse in the wild beauty of Ursus maritimus. These high quality images are not just a click away, but they also bring a piece of nature’s artistry into the comfort of your space for everyone to admire.

I have never seen a polar bear in real life and I refuse to see them in zoos as I think it is cruel to keep them there. Also, I’ve never visited anywhere where they live in the wild.

However, my husband is from Norway and often talks about making a trip to the north of Norway to see the Northern lights so that might be an opportunity to go polar bear spotting. Not too close though!

16 free vintage polar bear prints

Interesting Facts About Polar Bears

  • The polar bear’s habitat is mainly within the Arctic circle.
  • It is the largest carnivorous land mammal.
  • Male polar bears can weigh as much as 700kg.
  • Their scientific name is Ursus maritimus which means maritime bear. Even though polar bears are born on land, they spend most of their lives on Arctic Ocean sea ice, hence the name.
  • Their favorite food to hunt is seals.
  • Polar bears live for about 30 years.
  • Even though both inhabit the frozen North, polar bears don’t hunt reindeer. Reindeer are too fast for polar bears to catch! (I have vintage reindeer drawings here)

The Vintage Polar Bear Art Prints

I hope you enjoy this collection of fabulous polar bear art prints. Click on the title of the image you want to download, and a higher-resolution copy will open in a new tab to print and save. I think they would look good printed on watercolor paper.

All the prints here are in the public domain, which means you are free to use them commercially and not just for personal use.

1. White Polar Bear Standing on Ice Floe

This first white fur Polar bear is from the Welcome collection. The drawing is by Josiah Wood Whimper and 19th Century British natural history illustrator.

The illustration has a lovely description of the life and habitat of Polar bears at the bottom. I especially love the ending quote when referring to the virtues of the female of the species.

“She would, it is said, rather die, than desert her helpless charge. What reproofs, or rather what lessons, do the ways of some animals convey to the unkind and thoughtless of our own race!”

2. German Arctic Expedition Poster

I know little about this polar bear art except that it is a 1913 poster for the “Deutsche Arktische Expedition“. The graphic designer was Hans Lindenstaedt.

Graphic polar bear print

3. Polar Bear Art Print with Seal

Another polar bear illustration from the Welcome Collection. A polar bear devours its prey, a seal, on an ice floe surrounded by the deep blue Sea while three arctic foxes watch eagerly from an adjacent ice floe.

Polar bear devouring a seal

4. Polar Bear Lying in Wait

An unusual polar bear pose, of a bear lying in wait at a seal breathing hole. This polar bear illustration is from the magazine “Animal Life and the World of Nature: a Magazine of Natural History throughout the World“, from about 1903.

Lying in wait at a ice hole

5. Polar Bear and Seal

This colourful polar bear art print again shows the animal with its favourite meal, a hunted seal. This picture is from the rather sexist 1903 book “Hunting and Trapping Stories: A Book for Boys“.

Polar bear art print

6. Polar bear by Thorolf Holmboe

This polar bear painting is by Norwegian artist Thorolf Holmboe and is from the Norwegian National Library.

Polar bear at ice hole

7. Aggressive Polar Bear Art Print

An illustration of a pair of growling polar bears from the 1880 book “Johnson’s Household Book of Nature.”

two aggressive polar bears

8. 1866 – Polar Bear Art Print

This painting of a polar bear family on ice floes is from the French book “Le Monde de la Mer” (The World of the Sea) by Frédol, Alfred.

As mentioned in the introduction, as polar bears spend most of their time on ice floes in the Arctic Ocean, they are classified as marine mammals.

vintage polar bear print

9. Polar Bear and Cub 1792

A polar bear mother and her cub, 1792 and by the zoologist George Shaw.

vintage illustration of polar bear and cub

10. 1916 Polar Bear with its Prey

This Hudson Bay polar bear illustration is from the 1916 published book “The Larger North American Mammals” by Fuertes, Louis Agassiz; Nelson, Edward William.

polar bear art print

Print 11: Solitary Polar Bear

A print from the book “Histoire Naturelle des Mammifères” by Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Etienne (1824). You’ll find illustrations from other bears from this book in the collection of woodland animal prints.

Polar Bear print

Print 12: Polar bear by Christian Wilhelm Kehrer, 1820

A fine art oil canvas painting of the polar bear.

Painting of a polar bear by Wihelm Kehrer 1820

Print 13: Polar Bear Hunt

This image is from the collection at the Library of congress.

Polar bear hunt

Print 14: Rijksmuseum Polar Bear

An original lithograph from the collection at the Rijksmuseum.

Vintage polar bear on ice berg

Print 15: Male Polar Bear

Polar bear drawing from The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, 1848 by John James Audubon.

John James Audubon Polar Bear

Print 16: Polar Bear & Cubs

Polar bear cubs with their feeding mother from Brehm’s Life of animals (1895).

feeding mother bear and polar bear cubs

Other Related Print Collections

Polar bears feature on the beautiful Larousse vintage animal posters collection, along with many other popular mammals. There is also a wonderful scene of polar bears and Eskimos in this vintage geography poster of Yaggy’s.

You’ll find some brown and black bears in this collection of vintage woodland animal prints.

You should check out some of the other fabulous free vintage zoological illustrations and artwork on Pictureboxblue including other popular zoo animals such as tiger and giraffe drawings.

polar bear illustration


Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Such a great collection and I enjoyed reading about the polar bears. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!


Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Thank you 😊