Friday, December 9, 2011

Alexander, John White

A Meadow Flower
Oil on canvas
50 1/2 x 40 1/2 inches (128.27 x 102.87 cm)
Private collection

John White Alexander (1856-1915) was an American (born in Pennsylvania) portrait, figure, and decorative painter and illustrator. Orphaned in infancy, he was reared by his grandparents and at the age of 12 became a telegraph boy in Pittsburgh. His talent at drawing attracted the attention of one of his employers, who assisted him to develop them. He moved to New York at the age of eighteen and worked in an office at Harper's Weekly, where he was an illustrator and political cartoonist. After an apprenticeship of three years, he travelled to Germany, Italy, France, the Netherland, etc.. In 1881 he returned to New York and speedily achieved great success in portraiture. His first exhibition in the Paris Salon of 1893 was a brilliant success. In 1901 he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
Many of his paintings are in museums and public places in the United States and in Europe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. In addition, in the entrance hall to the Art Museum of the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, a series of Alexander's murals entitled "Apotheosis of Pittsburgh" (1905–1907) covers the walls of the three-storey atrium area.