Style: Portrait, figure, and decorative
Background: Alexander was born in Allegheny, Pennslyvania on 7 October 1856. 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
Education: John White Alexander 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 Munich for his first formal training. Owing to the lack of funds, he removed to the village of Polling, Bavaria, and worked with Frank Duvaneck. They travelled to Venice, where he profited by the advice of Whistler, and then he continued his studies in Florence, the Netherlands, and Paris.
Achievements: 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 and was followed by his immediate election to the Societe Nationale des Beaux Arts.Many additional honors were bestowed on him. In 1901 he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 1902 he became a member of the National Academy of Design. Among the gold medals received by him were those of the Paris Exposition (1900) and the World’s Fairat St. Louis (1904).