Joseph Alexander Ames was a portrait, landscape and genre painter. He was married with at least one child, a daughter.
Ames was a pupil of W. Allston. He lived in Boston, where he gained a reputation as a portrait painter. He also lived in Baltimore and New York from 1870 and was a member of the National Academy of Design.
In 1848 Ames travelled to Rome in order to study art. There he painted a portrait of Pope Pius IX. His sitters also included Ralf Waldo Emerson, Daniel Webster (1852), President William Conway Felton, Rufus Choate and William H. Seward. In 1857 Ames painted portraits of Ross Winans, Thomas de Kay Winans and the latter's wife, Celeste Winans, friends of the Whistler family in America (#06472). Anna McNeill Whistler wrote to JW in 1858 that Ames 'certainly does succeed in the most pleasing portraits restoring years to the subjects' (#06496). Ames's other works included The Old Stone Pitcher and The Last Days of Daniel Webster at Marshfield.
Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Who Was Who in America: Historical Volume 1607-1896, Chicago, 1963.