He was one of the earliest American painters to give serious attention to the study of anatomy. He lived at first in Philadelphia, afterwards establishing himself in New York City, where he enjoyed great popularity, though his conviviality and eccentric mode of life affected his work. He visited Baltimore, Charleston, and New Orleans, entertaining much and painting portraits of prominent people, particularly in New Orleans, where General Andrew Jackson was one of his sitters. He had for assistants at different times both Thomas Sully and Henry Inman. He affected singularity in dress and manners, and his mots were the talk of the day. But his work deteriorated, and he died in great poverty in New York City. Examples of his painting are in the collections of the New York Historical Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.