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Oil Painting of F. Matthias Alexander

See details about copyright and available versions of this picture below

This original oil painting by Ruth Beardmore was given to Alexander by the artist. Alexander later gave it to Dorothy Morrison, a friend and Alexander teacher in South Africa (Dorothy was in one of Alexander's early training classes). After her death in 1988 it was sold to an art gallery in Johannesburg and acquired by Neil Schapera, another Alexander Technique teacher in Cape Town, South Africa,

(size: 800 pixels x 574 pixels, dots/inch: 96, file size: 127Kb)   See copyright info below

Alexander around 1910There is a story that it was painted from sittings and originally showed him with a cigar in his left hand. Upon seeing the finished portrait, Alexander requested that the cigar be painted out (hence the spread fingers)... A charming story, though probably someone's imagination as I have recently had communication with John Morrison, the son of Dorothy Morrison, who says that it was a characteristic pose of Alexander's and points as evidence to another photo from around 1910 showing his hands in more or less the same position (see right).

There is no date on the painting but John Morrison says it is from around 1946 when Alexander was about 77 years old. It is similar to photographic portraits taken by Arnold Busch in New York in 1941 when Alexander was 72 years old. In fact, it looks so similar that it is tempting to think that perhaps Beardmore drew upon the photos for this painting, though it is more likely that this was one of Alexander's favoured expressions and stances (he was an actor, after all) which he adopted in sittings for both Busch and Beardmore (see copies of the Busch photos of Alexander below – the photo on the right is especially similar, though the tilt of the head is different as are small details about the eyes and the smile).


For an extensive gallery of photos of Alexander see the alexandertechnique.com site

COPYRIGHT:   The original photographic reproduction of the painting is copyright 1991 by N. Schapera and D. Gorman and may not be used commercially without permission.

The digital picture above is copyright 2005 by David Gorman and may be used freely ONLY by certificated Alexander Technique Teachers for their own personal or professional use in web sites, flyers, brochures, etc. Permission must be sought for any other publication in print media like magazines, newspapers, or in electronic media like TV, DVDs, etc.

There is a larger high resolution JPG version (resolution: 3125 pixels x 4361 pixels or 14.5 in x 20 in (37 cm x 52 cm), 300 dots/inch, file size ~ 9 Mb) which is available upon application to David Gorman

Negatives of the three black and white Busch photos are held by STAT and the photos are available as high resolution prints. See the STAT web site for more details.


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