biografía de Cosmo ALEXANDER (1724-1772)

Lugar de nacimiento: Scotland

Lugar de defunción: Edinburgh (Scotland)

Direcciones: Active in American colonies, 1766-71

Profesión: Portrait painter

Exposiciones: London Society of Artists (1765)

Obra: Preservation Society of Newport (RI) County, Hunter House Collection; Wadsworth Atheneum

Comentarios: Son of John Alexander, a noted Scottish portrait painter, Cosmo Alexander gained recognition as a portraitist before coming to America in 1766. He had painted in Italy (1745-51) and Holland, where he joined the painters's guild at the Hague (1763-64). In the years between 1751 and 1763 he spent time in Scotland but was also active in England (by c. 1754 and again in 1765), gaining most of his patrons from the Scottish community. Financial problems arose, however, and he left London in 1766 after apparently losing his land due to deep debts. He hoped to earn enough money in America to recover his property. While in the colonies he painted many portraits, again focusing on the Scottish community. He traveled about quite a bit: Phila. in 1766; NYC in 1767; Phila. again in 1768; Burlington (NJ), Phila., and Boston in 1769; Newport (RI) in 1769-70 . At Burlington (NJ) he lived in the governor's mansion and received a number of patrons through the efforts of the governor. There was a limit to the number of available sitters, however, and this is probably what kept Alexander moving from town to town. At Newport (RI) he was again met with interest by the town's prominent citizens. He also was introduced to the young Gilbert Stuart (see entry) and was convinced by a local physician to take Stuart, who was then only fourteen years of age, as his apprentice. Alexander and Stuart traveled to Philadelphia (1770-71) and then went south in 1771, where they briefly visited Williamsburg (VA) and Charleston (SC) before departing for Edinburgh (Scotland). Unfortunately, Alexander, who had been described as in frail health while in the colonies, died suddenly. Over twenty-five American portraits have been identified.

Fuentes: G&W; Graves Dictionary; Whitley, Gilbert Stuart, 7-9; Pa. Mag., XXV (Oct. 1911), 140; Brown and Brown. Examples of his work are reproduced in Portraits in Delaware, 105, in Art Digest, X (Aug. 1, 1936), 21; and in Flexner, Gilbert Stuart, Primitive." More recently, see Baigell, Dictionary; Gerdts, Art Across America, vol. 1: 87, 89, 227 and vol. 2: 12, 42; Saunders and Miles, 298-299 (includes excerpts from letters describing Alexander's finances and health)."

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