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    Description

    EASTMAN JOHNSON (American, 1824-1906)
    Child at Prayer, circa 1873
    Oil on canvas laid on masonite
    36 x 27 inches (91.4 x 68.6 cm)
    Signed lower right: E. Johnson


    NOTE:
    This painting is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Dr. Patricia Hills, and will be included in Dr. Hill's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's works.


    One of the most successful artists of the Civil War era, Maine native Eastman Johnson specialized in genre paintings of motley subjects, including rural children at play, Union soldiers at the front and African-American families in the South, Nantucket cranberry pickers, and women in intimate interiors. As the son of Maine's Secretary of State, Johnson traveled often as a youth and was able to work in a lithography shop in Boston before his family moved to Washington, D.C., where he drew crayon portraits of politicians and diplomats at the U.S. Capitol. To complete his professional training, Johnson studied in Dusseldorf, Rome, Paris, and The Hague, ultimately settling in New York City and becoming a member of the National Academy of Design.

    Johnson's iconic Child at Prayer exemplifies his sentimental genre scenes from the early 1870s, when he and his wife and daughter began summering in Nantucket. Recalling his paintings of sparse Nantucket interiors and of local children in reverie, Child at Prayer, which monumentalizes youthful piety, very possibly is a portrait of his daughter, Ethel, in the family's modest Nantucket summer home, acquired in 1871. Leading Johnson expert Patricia Hills notes, "It is a well-painted picture, rich in beige, cream and brown colors, and true in modeling. . . . The painting includes characteristics typical of Johnson's paintings: a thin sienna underpainting, graphite (pencil) defining some of the details such as the bedpost, and the averted face of a child. . . . Johnson did other paintings of children in quiet moments: dressing a doll, reading a book, cuddling a rabbit. What is most impressive about Child at Prayer is the size [as] most of his paintings of single children are smaller."



    More information about EASTMAN JOHNSON, also known as Johnson, Eastman, Eastman Johnson, Johnson, Jonathan-Eastman.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    15th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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