Little is known about the engraver John Wesley Paradise, who was born in 1809 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, the son of the portraitist and founding member of the National Academy of Design, John Paradise (1783-1834). Of English ancestry, his great grandfather had emigrated to Maryland. After a period of study with Asher B. Durand, in 1828 he began to exhibit engraved portraits at the National Academy of Design, of which he was an associate member from 1833 until his death. Paradise remained in New York, where he eventually became an engraver of banknotes. Although he was described as an engraver and portrait painter in The New-York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists, all of the sources cited there allude only to his career as an engraver. He died in New York in 1862. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Torchia, Robert Wilson, with Deborah Chotner and Ellen G. Miles. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part II. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1998: 40.