Biography: McCarter was affiliated with the Pennsylvania Academy for almost forty-five years. As a student from 1879 to 1882, he studied under Thomas Eakins. His interests leaned toward illustration. During a five-year stay in Paris in the late 1880s, he worked with such artists as Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Léon Bonnat, and apprenticed in the lithography workshop of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
By 1895, he was an established illustrator in New York. Around 1900, McCarter was asked by the Director of the Pennsylvania Academy Harrison Morris to teach an illustration class and he moved back to Philadelphia.
He began to work more frequently in oil painting around 1920, concentrating on landscapes and flower studies with a modernist mindset. His openness to new ideas influenced his students including the important American modernists Arthur B. Carles and Charles Demuth. McCarter remained there as an instructor until his death in 1942.