Johnson, Eastman, 1824-1906

Alternative names
Birth 1824-07-29
Death 1906-05-05

Biographical notes:

American painter and printmaker Jonathan Eastman Johnson was born in Lovell, Maine in 1824. After apprenticing with a Boston lithographer, he moved to Washington D.C. in 1845 and became a portraitist of prominent Americans, including Daniel Webster and Dolly Madison. Beginning in 1849, Johnson spent two years at the Royal Academy in Dusseldorf, Germany, studying with Emanuel Leutze, and three years at The Hague. After returning to America in 1855, he settled in New York and focused on painting American genre subjects including Native Americans, African Americans, and farmers. He married Elizabeth Buckley in 1869, and they bought a home in Nantucket where he spent every summer for the rest of his life. After 1880, as the popularity of genre paintings declined, Johnson focused again on portraiture. He died in 1906.

From the guide to the Eastman Johnson letters, 1851-1899, (Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution)

American artist.

From the description of Letters, 1868 Feb. 11-April 16, New York, to Louis Prang. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 170925240

Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) was an American artist and portrait painter, best known for his paintings of landscapes and scenes from everyday life (particularly Maine) and his portraits of everyday people. He also painted portraits of prominent Americans such as Abraham Lincoln, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He studied in Holland (and was sometimes known as "the American Rembrandt" for his work's resemblance to that of the 17th century Dutch master), but spent much of his career in Massachusetts, though he also travelled in Italy, Paris, and Germany. He was a member of the Boston Art Club Member, Brooklyn Art Association, National Academy of Design, Society of American Artists, and the Society of Illustrators.

From the guide to the Eastman Johnson Letters, 1861-1896, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Eastman Johnson was a popular and accomplished 19th century American painter. He moved from New England to Washington to Europe to New York, developing a sophisticated, cosmopolitan style, represented in both portraits and sentimental genre pieces, which proved to be popular in Europe as well as America.

From the description of Eastman Johnson letter to E.C. Stedman, 1894 June 11. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 50757830


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  • Indians of North America
  • Portrait painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Painters--United States
  • Painting, Modern--19th century--New York (State)--New York
  • Painters--Correspondence
  • Portrait painting--19th century
  • Art--Painters
  • Painters--New York (State)--New York
  • Portrait painters--United States
  • Artists
  • Chromolithography
  • Painting, American
  • Portraits, American
  • Painting, Modern--19th century--United States


  • Artists
  • Painter


  • United States (as recorded)
  • Grand Portage (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Superior (Wis.) (as recorded)