Joshua Johnson ~ Biography & Gallery

Header Painting: Mrs. Abraham White, Jr. and Daughter Rose by Joshia Johnson
© The Estate of Joshua Johnson

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Joshua Johnson ~ Biography

Known as: Folk and naïve (primitive) artist
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.

Joshua Johnson ~ Gallery

Joshua Johnson (active ca. 1796-1824)
Edward and Sarah Rutter, ca. 1805
oil on canvas
Joshua Johnson
Edward and Sarah Rutter, ca. 1805
Oil on canvas
Joshua Johnson Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
© Estate of Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson Mrs. Abraham White, Jr. and Daughter Rose
Joshua Johnson
Mrs. Abraham White, Jr. and Daughter Rose
Joshua Johnson Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
© Estate of Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson Mrs. John Moale (Ellin North) and Ellin North Moale Fine Art Print
Joshua Johnson
Mrs. John Moale (Ellin North) and Ellin North Moale
Joshua Johnson Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
© Estate of Joshua Johnson

Joshua Johnson Portrait of an African American Man
Joshua Johnson
Portrait of an African American Man
Joshua Johnson Fine Art Prints @ amazon.com (direct link)
© Estate of Joshua Johnson

Links

Joshua Johnson: Short Biography >> Gallery >> Joshua Johnson official prints are available at Allposters.com >> Advertise >> Joshua Johnson Books available @ amazon.com

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Releases & Links

Joshua Johnson Gallery here.

Buy Joshua Johnson Treasures


Joshua Johnson : Freeman and Early American Portrait Painter [Book, 1987]

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