A long time friend and studio partner of John Singer Sargent, James Carroll Beckwith would be most well known for his portrait paintings, though he did a large number of genre and landscape paintings as well. He also worked with Carolus-Duran and Sargent in the completion of a mural in the Palais du Luxembourg.
He was born in Missouri in 1852 but relocated to Chicago with his family in 1868. He studied briefly with Walter Sherlaw before heading to New York in 1871 where he attended the National Academy of Design School with Lemuel Wilmarth.
He interrupted his New York training to travel to Paris in 1873 where he attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts and studied under Leon Bonnat. Simultaneously he was working in the studio of Carolus-Duran, and it was this association that introduced him to Sargent.
He exhibited both in America and Paris while he was studying, and received honors and awards on both continents. He returned to his native county in 1878 where he soon became a popular and prominent portrait painter. He also began a long-term teaching career at the Art Students League, where he had a popular reputation among the students from 1878 to 1887. He continued his mural works as well, painting one of the domes in the Manufactures Building during the World Columbian Exposition in 1893.
In addition to his successful career, Beckwith worked throughout his life to nurturing the careers of his fellow American artists. He helped to organize many guilds, associations and clubs, including the Art Guild of New York, the Free Art League, and the Artists Fund Society of New York. He continued to work and paint up until the year of his death in 1917.
Beckwith's works are in several major American museums.