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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© John Alexander
American, born 1945
Mr. Friend's Revenge
Oil on canvas

76 x 106 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Isabel B. and Wallace S. Wilson

Arts of North America

Beaumont-born John Alexander has rooted his career in his native landscape, from his first paintings of the East Texas coast and Piney Woods to his later studies of the local landcape of New York's Long Island.

Mr. Friend's Revenge has the lush palette of a nocturnal swamp. The artist has revealed, however, that the painting was inspired by the sight of his cat, Mr. Friend, peering through a fish tank. The specter of the cat is repeated across the canvas, as are images of fish; an inverted death's head on the right indicates the cat's intent.

This work marks a turning point in Alexander's career. Even after he made his home in New York, leaving the cat behind with his ex-wife in Texas, Alexander frequently incorporated Mr. Friend in his art. In Mr. Friend's Revenge, Alexander blends Abstraction, Expressionism, and a brilliant eye for detail in a sweeping and energetic canvas.