Art/ Collection/ Art Object

In the Laboratory

Henry Alexander (1860–1894)
ca. 1885–87
Oil on canvas
36 x 30 in. (91.4 x 76.2 cm)
Credit Line:
The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, 1939
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 764
This is one of several interior scenes in which Alexander showed people at work, surrounded by their equipment. The portrait d’apparat—an image in which a figure appears along with objects associated with his or her daily life—reflects Alexander’s training in the Munich academy of fine arts and showcases his skills both as a portraitist and as a still-life painter. His subject here is the chemist and assayer Thomas Price (1837–1912), and the setting is Price’s San Francisco laboratory. A consultant to international mining companies, Price was noted for his practical and theoretical knowledge of metals and mines.
Signature: [at lower right]: HENRY ALEXANDER
the artist, San Francisco and New York, until 1894; his brother and sister, James and Rae Alexander, San Francisco, 1894–1937; with S. & G. Gump, San Francisco, 1937–1939
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