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John White Alexander

The Green Gown

John White Alexander (1856 – 1915) was an American portrait, figure, and decorative painter and illustrator. Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where he had first-hand knowledge of the tough life of steel workers, John White Alexander became one of the most prominent, fashionable artists in New York City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is especially noted for female subjects, which he rendered with fluid, sweeping lines and "an almost abstract, decorative rhythm of shape with a graceful and voluptuous expressiveness" (Baigell "Dictionary" 8).

An Idle Moment

John White Alexander: A collection of 61 paintings (HD) Description: "American painter and illustrator. He began his career in New York in 1875 as a political cartoonist and illustrator for Harper's Weekly. In 1877 he went to Paris for his first formal art training, and then to Munich, where he enrolled at the Kunstakademie under Gyuala Benczúr.
Alexander's stylistic development falls into several distinct stages. His early landscapes and genre scenes of the 1870s bear the stamp of Wilhelm Leibl's Munich realism as espoused by Duveneck and William Merritt Chase. His fluid brushwork resembled that of Frans Hals and Diego Velázquez, painters he deeply admired. After his return to the USA in 1881 and under the influence of Whistler, he favoured a more limited palette and experimented with the evocation of mood through shadow and gesture. His portrait of Walt Whitman (1886–9; New York, Met.) is one of his finest works of the 1880s. Many of his later portraits, notably of women, were psychological studies rather than specific likenesses, as in The Ring (1911; New York, Met.). His brushwork became less painterly and more concerned with suggesting abstracted shapes. He also adopted a very coarse-weave canvas, the texture of which became an important element in his mature work. By applying thinned-down paint to the absorbent surface, his pictures appear to have been dyed in muted tones, in marked contrast to the glossy, impasted surfaces of his earlier work. Throughout his career Alexander favoured compositions with a single figure placed against a sharply contrasting background. The sinuous curvilinear outline of the heroine standing full-length in Isabella, or the Pot of Basil (1897; Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.) evokes contemporary Art Nouveau forms. Like the Symbolists, he sought by gesture and strong lighting to intensify the viewer's response to his sensuous treatment of the subject.
Source: Art Sender

Geraldine Russell

Black and Red

Isabella and the Pot of Basil

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