Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Johnson, Eastman

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JOHNSON, Eastman, artist, b. in Lovell, Me., 29 July, 1824. Adopting drawing as a profession at eighteen, he settled first in Augusta, Me., working almost wholly on portraits in black and white and in pastel. In 1845 he removed with his parents to Washington, D. C., where he drew portraits of many distinguished men, including Daniel Webster and John Quincy Adams, and while in Boston in 1846-'9 he made portraits of Longfellow and his family, Emerson, Hawthorne, and Sumner. He went to Düsseldorf in 1849, studied one year at the Royal academy, one with Leutze, and four at the Hague, painting there his first important pictures in oil, “The Savoyard” and the “Card Players,” and afterward established himself in Paris, but returned to the United States in 1856. He was in Washington, D. C., and on the northern shores of Lake Superior among the Indian tribes in 1856-'7, returning to the former place in 1858, and painting the “Old Kentucky Home,” which established his reputation as an artist. In the autumn of this year he opened a studio in New York, where he has since resided. He was elected an academician in 1860, and has contributed since that time to each of the annual exhibitions of the National academy. His genre compositions, suggested by American scenes, have been highly popular, appreciated alike by artists and the public, and many of them have been engraved. He excels as a portrait-painter, and is particularly happy in the delineation of American domestic and negro character. Among his pictures are “The Old Kentucky Home,” “Sunday Morning,” “Prisoners of State,” “The Barefoot Boy,” “Dropping Off,” “Fiddling his Way,” “The Pension Agent,” “Milton Dictating to his Daughters,” “The Old Stage-Coach,” “Husking at Nantucket,” “ Bo-Peep” (exhibited at the Royal academy, London), “Barn Swallows, a Group of Children,” “What the Shell Says,” and “Old Whalers of Nantucket.” His portraits, besides those already mentioned, include likenesses of Grover Cleveland, Chester A. Arthur, Dr. James McCosh, and William M. Evarts.