1852-1853 Foster’s Building, Corner of Main and First Street, Evansville, Indiana.
(James) Thomas Poindexter was recorded in six announcements and two advertisements in The Evansville Daily Journal (Evansville, Indiana). He was also recorded in an on line article in 2012 for the Evansville-Museum-Exhibition and an entry in The New York Historical Society’s Dictionary Of Artists In American 1584 to 1860. The first announcement appeared on August 4, 1852. Mr. Poindexter, a portrait painter of much merit, has just arrived here from the South. We hope he may be induced to remain among us for a time. The Daguerreotype business has had the effect to drive all inferior portrait painters to some other business, while good artist alone are left, and they appear to be well patronized. A well painted portrait cannot be excelled by any Daguerreotype, and it has the advantage of correct coloring to make it a more life-like work of art. We hope sufficient inducements will be offered Mr. P. to urge him to stay here awhile, and leave with us some of the works of his skill.
The second announcement appeared on August 7, 1852. Portrait Painting.—We take pleasure in calling attention to Mr. Poindexter’s advertisement of Portrait Painting. The portrait of a citizen he has just painted, appears to us, who are no judge of such work, to be a at least a triumph so far as the likeness is concerned. Mr. P. intends remaining here but a short time, and as we have had no professional portrait painter among us for a long time, it might be well for citizens to take advantage of the occasion. A good portrait is a pleasing possession for any one, and an invaluable “relic of the past” when years have winged themselves into eternity.
The third announcement appeared on August 7, 1852. Portrait Painting, T. Poindexter, Portrait Painter, has taken the rooms in Foster’s building, at head of stairs, where he would be pleased to have citizens call and examine his specimens of painting. He intends remaining in Evansville but a short time, and would request those desirous of having their portraits painted to call soon. He promises to give satisfaction, and only asks patronage as he may deserve it.
The fourth announcement appeared on September 27, 1852. Mr. Poindexter, Portrait Painter, has been taking some excellent Portraits. Mr. P. is not only capable of taking correct likenesses, as fine as we ever saw, but his pictures are good as works of art. They are not surpassed as paintings, by the works of those artists who are considered the best portrait painters of the West, we defy any painter to make better likenesses. Our citizens have been patronizing Daguerreotypist very freely, but one of Poindexter’s portraits are worth fifty Daguerreotypes—while to patronize him is to aid an artist, who has devoted a lifetime to his profession.
The fifth announcement appeared on April 20, 1853. Mr. Poindexter, has opened a Daguerrean Gallery in Foster’s building, which he will carry on in connection with his portrait painting. Mr. P. already established a good reputation in our city as a Portrait Painter, and his specimens in the Daguerrean art, will compare favorably with any ever taken here. Mr. Poindexter has taken up his residence in our city, and designs establishing a permanent business in Picture and Portrait making. We wish him great success, and hope our citizens will give him that generous support of which he has proven himself worthy.
The first advertisement ran from April 20 to December 7, 1853. Daguerreotypes! The subscriber respectfully informs the public generally that he has resumed the above business with which he has long been familiarly acquainted, and designs establishing permanent Daguerrean gallery in Evansville in Foster’s buildings, corner of Main and First street, where he hopes to receive the frequent visits of ladies and gentlemen which it shall be his earnest endeavor to merit; and he expects to be permanent, he depends more upon exhibitions of his proficiency and skill than noisy humbug of words for success.
His reputation as a portrait painter is too well established in Evansville and elsewhere to need remark further than that he will be happy to accommodate any desiring his services in that branch of art. Thos. Poindexter.
The sixth advertisement appeared on July 24, 1856. Hall Of Evansville Lodge, No. 64, A. Y. M. July 21, 1856. At a called meeting of Evansville Lodge…By order of the Lodge Committee A. H. Sanders. Thos. Poindexter, Osborne Reilly.
The second advertisement ran from September 21v to November 23, 1857. At Home. Having returned to remain but a short time, the subscriber would respectfully invite those who may desire his artistic services to make it known without delay, as he has calls abroad that should not be neglected. A good likeness warranted, either from life or a good Daguerrean or Ambrotype picture. Studio first floor above and entrance through the store of A. C. Pushee. See Specimens. Thos. Poindexter.
1957. The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary Of Artists in America 1564–1860, P. 509. Poindexter, James Thomas (1832-1891). Portrait painter. Born June 6, 1832 in Christian County (Ky.) H was painting portraits in Evansville, (Ind) as early as 1852. During the Civil War he was a telegraph operator. He died June 10, 1891…
A single line in the Aug. 4, 1852, issue of the Evansville Daily Journal simply announced, “Poindexter, a portrait painter has come to town.”
James Thomas Poindexter, 23, was a Hopkinsville, Ky., native with little or no formal art training, but with a desire to make his living as a professional painter. He went on to become one of the most important portrait artists of the region.
His own work, which will be featured in an Evansville Museum show opening Sept. 2, reflected portraiture at the time, often done by traveling painters who moved from town to town brushing portraits and painting business signs for fees or, sometimes, food and lodging.
Poindexter married and settled in Evansville where, in addition to painting, he took up daguerreotype portrait photography.
He left during the Civil War to serve as a telegraph operator for the Army of the Confederacy, and worked painting portraits in Louisiana and Mississippi before returning to Evansville in 1871. His name appeared in city records until 1882. He died in Eddyville, Ky., nine years later.
Hanna Ganote, a New Albany, Ind., native who graduated from the University of Evansville this year, helped put together the Evansville Museum’s exhibition, which draws from the museum’s own collection of a dozen Poindexters, as well as portraits on loan from museums and libraries in Evansville and New Harmony, Ind., and in Louisville, Ky.
The show will hang through Nov. 25 in the Main Gallery, and may be seen online as a virtual exhibition on http://www.emuseum.org.
James Thomas Poindexter is not listed in other photographic directories. He is like some other portrait painters during the daguerreian era who either dabbled for a time making daguerreotype images, used daguerreotypes in their portrait painting, or became daguerreotypist/photographers.