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John Alexander (American, b.1945)
LOT ID: 78777
Burleigh Dreams, 1983

Oil, on canvas
90 х 100 in. (228.6 x 254 cm.)
Signed, and dated, verso
Lot description
In keeping with his abstract expressionist predecessors, John Alexander builds his compositions through the simultaneous exploration of material, space, and emotion. With nature as his emotional cue, Alexander creates an abstracted landscape filled with the skeletal heads and bodies of animals in ‘Burleigh Dreams’. Here, Alexander layers the graffiti-like faces of real and invented animals in a composition filled with tension and explosive energy. Encased by a web of lines that attempts to restrain the animals within the canvas, Alexander’s ghostly world represents life and decay, freedom and confinement; alluding to Alexander’s personal perspective on nature’s position in our world.

Inspired by the social, political, and physical environments of Texas and New York, John Alexander (b.1945) brings his skills as a draftsman and appreciation for abstract expressionism to large paintings that capture the emotional truths of his experiences. Using a cast of characters that range from recognizable animals to ethereal skulls and masklike heads, Alexander shows a darker and somewhat satirical side of the relationship between nature and man. Born in Beaumont, Texas, Alexander earned his BFA from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX in 1968 and his MFA from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX in 1970. Soon after completing his MFA, Alexander moved to New York City where he continues to work and live. He is the recipient of the 1981 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the 1984 Solomon R. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. In 2007, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC organized a major museum retrospective of Alexander’s work, which traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX in 2008-2009. Most recently, his work has been the subject of solo shows at Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, L A (2011); J. Johnson Gallery, Jacksonville, FL (2011); and McClain Gallery, Houston, TX (2009).

Selected Public Collections:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA)
Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL)
National Museum of American Art (Washington, DC)
Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC)
Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX)
Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee, WI)
Burleigh Dreams by John Alexander
  • Burleigh Dreams by John Alexander
  • Burleigh Dreams by John Alexander
  • Burleigh Dreams by John Alexander
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • John Alexander

    oil on canvas
    (H 78, W 84) in.
    (198.1 x 213.4) cm.
    Sold for: US$10,000
    Wednesday, May 9, 2012
    Doyle New York
    Lot 00220
  • John Alexander

    The cake walk
    oil on canvas
    (H 48.0, W 41.5) in.
    (121.9 x 105.4) cm.
    Sold for: US$15,000
    Friday, December 17, 2010
    Phillips de Pury & Company New York
    Lot 00234
  • John Alexander

    Last flight of the heron
    oil on canvas
    (H 76.0, W 96.0) in.
    (193 x 243.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$13,750
    Thursday, September 30, 2010
    Christie's New York
    Lot 00152
  • John Alexander

    Taboo family
    oil on canvas
    (H 70, W 60) in.
    (177.8 x 152.4) cm.
    Sold for: US$17,500
    Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00246
  • John Alexander

    A chilly spring
    oil and gesso on canvas
    (H 50, W 70) in.
    (127 x 177.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$34,000
    Wednesday, April 2, 2008
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00468
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