Eastman Johnson

(1824-1906)

Eastman Johnson studied art in Düsseldorf from 1849-51 and then at The Hague from 1851-55 where he was known as the "American Rembrandt". He also studied lithography for a year before he took up crayon portraiture. Upon returning from Europe, Johnson traveled a bit before settling in NYC in 1859. Johnson's subjects were usually African American life as well as rural genre paintings. "The Old Kentucky Home" showed a poignant state of Southern social structure in the eve of the Civil War, juxtaposing slave quarters with the owner's mansion. This painting won him election to the National Academy. In the 1880s Johnson painted portraits of the rich and famous such as John Quincy Dams, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The year after Johnson's death his collection was sold at an auction in New York.