Alexander Samuel MacLeod Biography

Alexander Samuel MacLeod




Alexander Samuel MacLeod was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada on April 12, 1888.  He studied first at McGill University, and, after settling in San Francisco, he studied at the Institute of Art under Frank Van Sloun. He maintained a studio in San Francisco in the old Montgomery Block-- or the "Monkey Block", as it was then dubbed (it is now the Transamerica Bldg), which was a haven for socially and politically active artists, poets, and writers of the time. Meanwhile, he lived down the peninsula in San Mateo, and he continued to paint and print both at school and on his own time.

In 1921 he obtained a position in the art departement of the Paradise of the Pacific magazine in Hawaii, where he stayed for nearly eight years. He was also employed there by the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Much of his body of work was inspired by his stay on the tropical island, and he often depicted the daily lives of Native Hawaiians, including the island's surfers prior to the sport's worldwide popularity. In 1929 he had returned to Canada, where he lived for ten years before returning to Hawaii as the director of the graphic art department for the United States Army in the Pacific. In 1943 he published a book of his prints titled The Spirit of Hawaii: Before and After Pearl Harbor. He remained there until the end of World War II at which point he retired to Palo Alto, California.

MacLeod's work is included in the collections of the California State Library (Sacramento), the Fine Arts Museums of San Francsico, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Iris B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts (Stanford), the Naelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), the New York Public Library, teh Seatlle Art Museum, teh Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Exh: San Francisco Art Association, 1914-23; Calif. Artists, Golden Gate Park Museum, 1915; Calif. Society of Etchers, 1928, 1930, 1949; NW Printmaker

Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"