John White Alexander (1856-1915, American)

Deutsch: John White Alexander (1856−1915)

Deutsch: John White Alexander (1856−1915) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, John White Alexander was raised by his grandparents after being orphaned shortly after birth. Early on his artistic talent attracted attention, and he was encouraged to develop it.  At 18 he moved to New York and worked for three years at Harper’s Weekly drawing political cartoons and illustrations.  Afterwards, he travelled to Munich and then to Florence, The Netherlands and finally Paris where he continued his art studies even studying under Whistler.  

Returning to New York in 1881 he received immediate success painting portraits of influential people such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Burroughs, Henry G. Marquand, R.A. L. Stevenson among others. Mirroring the century’s new found love of cats in his art, he often included them in portraits of women.  In 1893, he gave his first exhibition at the Paris Salon which was highly praised and was elected to the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts.  Many other honors were bestowed upon him such as the Legion of Honor in 1901,  membership in the National Academy of Design in 1902, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters,  and President of the National Society of Mural Painters.  He also won gold medals at the Paris Exposition (1900) and the World’s Fair at St. Louis (1904)

Alexander married Elizabeth Alexander Alexander and they had one child James Waddell Alexander II.   John White Alexander died in New York on May 31, 1915.


Framed art posters and canvas prints are available at The Great Cat Store



John White Alexander (1856-1915) Portrait of a woman in an off-the-shoulder gown with cat oil on canvas

John White Alexander (1856-1915)
Portrait of a woman in an off-the-shoulder gown
oil on canvas
Private Collection


John W. Alexander Black and Red 1896

John W. Alexander
Black and Red


Want to know more about cats in art, history and literature? Then Revered and Reviled is the book for you. Now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. 

Revered and Reviled: A Complete History of the Domestic Cat, cat history, cats


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