The North Point Gallery

Let us know if you would like to receive updates on new acquisitions and upcoming events.

Browse >Henry Alexander

Henry Alexander

Paintings in Inventory

Click on an image for a larger view.

The Bachelor at Home

Artist's Biography

Henry Alexander was born in San Francisco and demonstrated talent for art as a child.  He was so good, in fact, that the Alta took note of a full-length portrait that he had drawn when he was thirteen (October 31, 1874).  By 1877, he was an art student in Munich, where he remained until returning to San Francisco in 1884.  He studied portrait and genre painting, and it is clear from his works that he had been exposed to the humorous depictions of absent-minded professors and other eccentrics by the master of such subjects, the Munich-based Carl Spitzweg.  Back in San Francisco, Alexander created genre paintings depicting such local personalities as Abe Warner talking to his parrot amidst collections of bric-a-brac in his famous saloon known as the “Cobweb Palace.” Alexander achieved considerable critical acclaim for his ability to reproduce interiors with intricate detail, and was able to sell paintings at good prices to local collectors.  In 1887, he decided to try his luck in New York, and for a while, he was successful, selling a painting to the great collector and dealer, Thomas B. Clarke, among others. Eventually, he fell on lean times, especially after the panic of 1893 shut down the New York art market. Unable to pay the rent at his studio which doubled as his living space, he found himself padlocked out by his landlord.  In despair, he committed suicide in a hotel room with a draught of carbolic acid chased down by whiskey.  Only about thirty Alexander paintings are thought to be extant today. A large collection of them assembled by his family in preparation for an exhibition was destroyed in the fire that followed the San Francisco earthquake in April 1906.


Copyright © 2001 2011 The North Point Gallery