Alexander John Drysdale 1870-1934 was an early 20th-century artist who specialized in landscapes of Louisiana using the technique of oil wash, that gave his works a characteristic hazy look.
Although born in Marietta, Georgia, Drysdale is almost considered to be the national painter of Louisiana. He moved with his family to New Orleans at a young age and later earned his livelihood as a portrait painter. His early work in true oil shows influence from the Barbizon School of landscape painting and tonalism favored by American painter George Inness. Economy forced Drysdale to find alternatives to expensive oil paint and canvas. From 1910, he started painting on sized cardboard and compressed paperboard and began to thin his oils with kerosene. This famous ”oil wash” technique complemented his atmospheric dreamy landscapes.
The start of his professional life as an artist coincided with his move to New Orleans in 1903. At that time, he became heavily involved in the Artists' Association of New Orleans. He established his studio at 320 Exchange Place in the New Orleans French Quarter. Significant commissions included D.H. Holmes Department Store and Sushan Airport, as well as showings at Tulane University and the National Association of Newspaper Artists. In later life, Drysdale was partially supported by the Civil Works Administration. Today his art can be viewed at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and The Historic New Orleans Collection.