John White Alexander (1856-1915)


John White Alexander (1856-1915)
American Symbolist portrait painter & muralist ;
John W. Alexander ; J.W. Alexander ; J. W. Alexander ;
[Born October 7, 1856 in Pittsburgh (Allegheny City), PA – died May 31, 1915 in New York, NY of heart disease]


FAD record control number: 38270 ;

Record level: Person ;

Record type: Artist ;


John White Alexander (1856-1915) biography:

Birth: October 7, 1856 in Pittsburgh (Allegheny City), PA ;
Death: May 31, 1915 in New York, NY of heart disease ;
Sex: Male ;
Ethnicity: White ; 
 Libra ;

Known for: portrait painting ; murals ;
Medium: oil ; pen & ink ; watercolor ;
Technique: painting ; illustration ; fresco ;
Subjects: people ; celebrities ; women ; children ;

Areas: Pittsburgh, PA ; Allegany, PA ; New York, NY (1873, 1901-1915) ; New Orleans, LA (1881) ; Yellowstone, MT (1883) ; Munich, Germany (3 years) ; Florence, Italy ; Venice, Italy ; Paris, France (1890-1900) ; Cornish Art Colony, New Hampshire (1890) ; Island of Samoa ;
Region: North East ; Europe ;
Lived: Braddock Fields, Pittsburgh, PA ; Edgehill, Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA ; 116 East 65th Street, New York, NY (1908-1912) ; 14th Street & 4th Avenue, New York, NY (1882-1883) ; 153 4th Avenue, New York, NY (1884) ; 222 West 23rd Street, New York, NY (1886-1890) ; 120 Broadway, New York, NY (1895) ; 31 Boulevard Berthier, Paris, France (1896-1898) ; 4 East 64th Street, New York, NY (1899) ; 190 ter Boulevard Malesherbes, Paris, France (1900) ; 123 West 63rd Street, New York, NY (1901-1902) ; 120 East 63rd Street, New York, NY (1907)
Relatives: James Waddell Alexander, Jr (1839-1915), Equitable Life Assurance Company, Princeton, NJ, president or was this his father-in-law ;
Spouse: Elizabeth (Alexander) Alexander (1866-1947), wife, married 1887, author or children’s books which her husband illustrated ; Elizabeth (Beasley) (Williamson) Alexander (1841-1929), mother-in-law ;
Children: James Waddell Alexander II (1888-1971), son, professor at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ ;

Training: Second Ward School, Pittsburgh, PA ; Old Fourth Ward School, Pittsburgh, PA ; Central high school, Pittsburgh, PA ; Royal Academy of Munich, Munich, Germany ;
Instructors: Private travels to Munich, Germany with Frank Duveneck (1848-1919) ; Private travels to Munich, Germany with William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) ; Private travels to Venice, Italy with James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) ;
Work: Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company, Pittsburgh, PA, messenger ; Harper and Brothers, New York, NY, illustrator (1873-1876) ; Century magazine, New York, NY ;

Taught: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, drawing instructor ; National Academy of Design, New York, NY, president (1909-1915) ;

Member: Society Nouvelle, Paris, France ; Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris, France, associate member ; Royal Belgian Society of the Fine Arts, Belgium, associate member ; Vienna Secessionist Society, Vienna, Austria, honorary member ; Munich Secessionist Society, Munich, Germany, honorary member ; Legion of honor, Paris, France, chevalier ; Salmagundi Club, New York, NY, honorary member, 1914-1915 ; National Academy of Design, New York, NY, national academician, 1915 ; International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Engravers, London, England ; Architectural League, New York, NY ; Society of Mural Painters, New York, NY ; Fine Arts Federation, New York, NY ; Fine Arts Society, New York, NY ; National Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY ; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, trustee ; New York Public Library, New York, NY, trustee ; Cooper Union, New York, NY, council member ;
Exhibited with: Champ de Mars, Paris, France (1883) ; Pennsylvania Academy on the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA (1882, 1890, 1895-1905, 1907-1908, 1910-1912) ; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA ; Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, Paris, France ; Society of American Artists, New York, NY ; Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY ; Universal Exposition, St. Louis, MO ; National Academy of Design, New York, NY (1882-1884, 1886) ; Boston Art Club, Boston, MA (1883, 1903-1904, 1906) ;
Awards: Pennsylvania Academy on the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, winner Lippincott prize (1899) ; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, medal first class (1911) ; Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, Paris, France, gold medal of honor (1900) ;  Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, honorary degrees, master of fine arts, literary doctorate ; Philadelphia, PA, Temple gold medal (1897) ; Society of American Artists, New York, NY, Carnegie prize (1901) ; Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY, gold medal (1901) ; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, gold medal of honor (1903) ; Washington, DC, Corcoran prize (1903) ; Universal Exposition, St. Louis, MO, gold medal (1904) ; Munich Academy, Munich Germany, bronze medal ; Pittsburgh Art Commission, Pittsburgh, PA (1911) ;

Milestones: Raised by his grandparents ; When his grandparents passed away, he was adopted by Colonel Edward Jay Allen, president of Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company, Pittsburgh, PA ; Instrumental in bringing new style of portraiture to America ; Painted : Walt Whitman, Mark Twain ; Thurlow Weed, Parke Godwin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Robert Louis Stevenson ; Influential in all buildings and public monuments of Pittsburgh, PA ; Moved to New York, NY at age 17 to work for Harper’s ; Murals include a series of paintings with the subject “The evolution of the book” in the Congressional library, Washington, DC, mural for the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA ; Possibly parents died early or he was an orphan? ; Friends with Oscar Wilde, Henry James, James Whistler, Auguste Rodin and Andre Gide ;



John White Alexander (1856-1915) artworks:

John White Alexander (1856-1915) exhibitions:

John White Alexander (1856-1915) related documents:


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Digital document provenance:
Original compiled and researched document by the Fine Art Database, 266 West 21st Street, New York, NY.

Document license:
Creative Commons Corporation  shareAlike (sa) license.  Some of the information contained within this document may hold further publication restrictions depending on final use.  It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine.

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The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to U.S. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author’s death. In other countries, legislation may differ.

Record birth date:
August 17, 2018

Last updated: May 10, 2019 at 14:19 pm

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