Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two or Three....!

Study in black and red.



Woman in black and green - study.

The Blue Bowl


The Green Dress

Portrait of Mrs. John White Alexander

John White Alexander (1856 - 1915) was an American painter born in the coal country of Pennsylvania. He specialized in portraits, figures and decorative illustration. An orphan raised by his grandparents, he showed an aptitude for drawing as a boy and when still a very young man worked as a political cartoonist and illustrator for Harper's Weekly in NY when Howard Pyle and other well known illustrators were also there. Later he managed to study in Munich, Venice, Florence, the Netherlands and Paris.

Upon his return to NYC, in 1881, Alexander was an instant success as a portrait painter of the rich and famous. His exhibitions in Europe were also extremely well-received and he became an artist of great renown in his lifetime.

The things I like best about his work are his use of light and color, his stylized figures and the often flamboyant drapery of fabric.

To read more about Alexander and his work, please use this link.


  1. Beautiful paintings. Thanks for sharing. Will look for more by the artist..

    Here is my Saturday Snapshot post!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to John White Alexander — I wasn't familiar with him! I can see the various influence through these paintings. The Blue Bowl has the quality of Howard Pyle and an illustration, while Althea, Repose and The Green Dress remind me of Sargent. It's always inspiring to see fine work that evolves.

  3. gautami tripathy: You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed the paintings. I'll be sure and check out your post. :)

  4. Mark: You're welcome! Isn't it great when you discover a new artist? I love Alexander's work, especially REPOSE, which I think is probably his most famous painting. Many people mistake it for a Sargent. I did too when I firat came upon it years ago.

    If you read the little bio link (there's not a huge amount of info on Alexander online) it tells us about his use of paint and how as he evolved in his work, his handling of paint texture and his brush strokes changed.

  5. Gosh, wow! The colors, the textures, the designs.

    Just stunning.

    I'm looking at painting dresses as an art form in and of itself.

    I never noticed this before in art.


  6. Kathy: Yes, the painting of fabric is almost a separate art form. Painting the different textures of different fabrics is a talent in itself. I'm not sure if they still teach it in art school. I think they do.

    But in the past it was something that was taught, same as figure drawing, use of light and dark, that sort of thing.

    I love Alexander's work.

  7. New York Magazine's issue this week is on fall fashion. Quite a difference in a century or so. No way to hide the extra five or fifty pounds now.

  8. If most of your weight was below the waist, Patti, then this was a great time. But lots of these dresses depended on a minute little waist.

    Women fainted a lot. A direct result of the tightness of the corsets. :)

  9. Oh Yvette, that Study in Red and Black -- stunning. I love pop-out colors like that, and this is just a very special painting. I'd love to have this one to hang above the fireplace! They are all wonderful paintings, and it never occurred to me that painting of fabric is a special type -- of course it would be -- otherwise you would get a flat look. Thanks for these pieces of beauty.

  10. Becky: I'm pleased you enjoyed the post. I wouldn't mind having one of these paintings myself. Though I have my favorite Leighton work above the fireplace. A poster of it, that is. :)

  11. I really love the use of color and the movement in the dresses.

  12. Ryan: Yes, me too. I love Aliexander's work. I've had a copy of REPOSE pinned to my bulletin board for years.

  13. black cats + full gowns = beautiful!

    another great post ;)

  14. How have I never seen these before? They're gorgeous! Thanks for furthering my art education!

  15. Brioche: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed Alexander's work.

  16. Lauren: You're very welcome. There were so many great artists working during this time in history that some of them occasionally get lost in the shuffle. :)


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