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James Alexander Simpson

Also Known as: James A. Simpson

Georgetown, District of Columbia 1805

Baltimore, Maryland 1880


Born 1805 in Georgetown, D.C. During the years 1830–65, served as a part-time teacher of drawing and painting at Georgetown College. Married Julia Franzoni, daughter of the sculptor Carlo Franzoni (or of Giuseppe Franzoni); later married Sarah T. Gibson, widow of the artist Richard R. Gibson. Exhibited at the Washington Metropolitan Mechanics Institute, 1853. Moved to Baltimore, 1865. Died May 1, 1880, in Baltimore, Md.

Andrew J. Cosentino and Henry H. Glassie The Capital Image: Painters in Washington, 1800–1915 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1983)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

James Alexander Simpson was a part-time teacher of painting and drawing at Washington’s Georgetown College from 1830 until 1865. He had a successful career as a portraitist, capturing the likeness of many illustrious sitters, including Commander Stephen Decatur, celebrated American naval officer of the War of 1812 (Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975, 1999).