(1824-1906) was born in Lovell and began his career in Boston as an apprentice in a lithographic shop, designing title pages for books and sheet music. He was the son of Philip C. Johnson, Secretary of State for Maine. He worked in a lithographic establishment in Boston in 1840 and after a year went to Augusta, where he began making portraits in back crayon.
In 1845 the family moved to Washington D.C., and young Johnson drew many crayon portraits, working in the Senate Committee Rooms at the Capitol. He left the United States for Düsseldorf, Germany in 1849, where he studied and joined the studio of Emanuel Leutze, who painted the famous Washington Crossing the Delaware. Johnson continued his studies in The Hague, studying the seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish masters, and in Paris.
Settling in New York in 1858, he opened a studio in the University Building and began work on Old Kentucky Home —Negro Life in the South, which he exhibited to the acclaim of abolitionists and slave holders alike. The following years were devoted to Civil War subjects and to the American genre scenes for which he became best known. He died in New York City in 1906.
“Eastman Johnson (1824-1906).” Excerpt from a manuscript written by M. Elizabeth Boone for the New Britain Museum of American Art’s collection catalogue. 2003.
“Eastman Johnson 1824-1906.” Brief biography on Roughton Galleries Internet web site. http://www.crgalleries.com/action.lasso