Joshua Johnson






        American Art.  Art Store  Advertise  Search Site
        _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


        Biography
        A M E R I C A N  A R T I S T




        Joshua Johnson (active ca. 1796-1824)
Edward and Sarah Rutter, ca. 1805
oil on canvas




      • Born: near Baltimore, MD, c.1765
      • Died: Baltimore, MD, c.1830


        Joshua Johnson was America's first professionally active African-American artist. Fragmentary biographical records indicate that Johnson was a freeman and portraitist in Baltimore at least as early as 1796. He may have learned his trade by association with the family of Charles Willson Peale, to whom he may have been earlier indentured or enslaved, but then again he may not. He may have been an independent artist, the free son of a white man and a black slave. And he may have supplemented his portrait practice by decorating furniture.

        May have been seems to be the key phrase with Johnson. We can only be certain in our uncertainty.

        Johnson's 1798 claim to be "a self-taught genius," who "experienced many insuperable obstacles in the pursuit of his studies," may be read as testimony to his confidence and endurance in a society still contending with slavery and racial discrimination.

        Paul Page, Lenin Imports - 2008


        Art Prints at Allposters.com



        Girl Wearing a Bonnet, ca. 1810
Joshua Johnson (American, b. ca. 1765, d. after 1825)


        _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


        {  R e c o m m e n d e d  R e a d i n g  }





        _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


        American Art.  Art Store  Advertise  Search Site  Top of Page

        © Lenin Imports                                                                                 E-mail

        _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________