Artist. Financier. He would become the head of one of one of the world's most significant banking families, but he began working life as a portrait painter in his home town of Dornbirn, Vorarlberg, Austria. He fled to Switzerland after a failed Austrian rebellion against Napoleon's Empire. From Switzerland, he traveled throughout Europe finding painting work where he could. He eventually moved to Philadelphia and worked as a portraitist. He earned an excellent reputation, and saw his work shown at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. For a time he lived in South America, continuing his portrait work. During the Texas War of Independence he moved to Mexico to paint portraits of influential families. Returning to Philadelphia in the late 1830s, his interests shifted from art to finance. His experiences in Europe, South America, and Mexico, in times of peace and times of crisis, gave him an understanding of how money supplies worked. This led to banking and the founding of the brokerage house of Drexel and Company. His three sons, Francis Anthony, Anthony Joseph, and Joseph William, joined him in the company. He was married to Catherine Hookey.