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cided to get out and walk. Under the walls ow's religious zeal as a convert to the Cathof the city, then standing, they encountered olic Church had even led to a temporary a cheerful gathering of youths and maidens estrangement between him and his former celebrating some kind of a kermess, and pupil, though it is said to have been his inwere hospitably welcomed as strangers, in- fluence which had won Lessing away from vited to stay and help the rejoicing. It is his early romantic-elegiac manner, both in even reported that they were informed by figures and landscape. Mr. Hall states his the ruddy-cheeked damsels that the current opinion that “the Düsseldorf school was rates for kisses were half a franc apiece. excellent in all the preliminary art studies, In Antwerp they remained for eight days, drawing from the nude, anatomy, perspecand then proceeded to Düsseldorf, where tive, and composition; but in color it was they enrolled themselves in the Academy very deficient; not one of the many artists schools, but at the end of the first two or living there was a colorist.” Here they were three weeks Johnson was notified that in joined by their compatriot, Whittredge, and his case the customary two years in drawing the three took a trip up the Rhine, "our obwould be dispensed with, and that he could ject being to see mountains and old castles.” enter the painting classes at once.
Johnson made a study in oil of the DrachenThe Düsseldorf Academy, founded in fels, and there are still preserved in his port1767, was then under the divided sway of folios very careful little pencil drawings of Lessing and Schadow, the latter having the heads of Andreas Achenbach, Knaus, been director since 1826, but the former-at and others, made at this period, on fragile this time in the midst of the Kulturkampfas paper, and apparently without retouching or an “apologist” for the Kaiser-might and erasures. Leutze was then president of the the heroes of the Reformation, Huss and Kneiper Club, and Johnson was duly made Luther-being the more popular. Schad- a member of this artist fraternity. He and
Leutze went to the military riding academy Dutch masters he found satisfactory technifor instruction in the art of horsemanship, calinstruction; soassiduously and so well did and the younger man records that he was he devote himself to the copying of the chief complimented on his skill. Among his tal- of them that, as Mr. George Folsom, then ents was one for languages—he had taken chargéd'affaires at The Hague, and one of his some lessons in French and German before friends, says, he was soon known among his going abroad; he sang and conversed in compatriots as “the American Rembrandt.” both, and spoke Dutch with a mastery of the sibilants unusual in a foreigner. In his excursions he was in the habit of collecting and carefully pressing flowers and delicate plants, duly dated, with the locality, and this little herbarium is still preserved.
Without any apparent injury to his own technique, he worked a good deal in the atelier of Leutze, who was then painting his celebrated “Washington Crossing the Delaware," now in the Metropolitan Museum. To secure accuracy in the costumes, the young man wrote home to his father, asking him to have made a careful reproduction of the uniform worn by Washington, which was done, and the garments forwarded to Leutze. The son, in his letters home, records that at the reception held in the latter's studio, May 11, 1851, to celebrate the completion of this great work, the Prince and Princess of Prussia were among the distinguished guests, and that the prince, "a fine, soldierly looking man, with agreeable manners,” to whom he was presented by Leutze, wished to purchase the small copy of the picture which Johnson had painted, but which, under the terms of the contract made for the disposal of the original, could not be sold. In July of this year he went over to London to see the National Gallery and the first International Exposition, stopping on his way at The Hague, and a few months later, January, 1852, we find His diary and his letters home bear abunhim located in the latter capital and definite-dant testimony to his appreciation of the ly embarked on his career as a painter in Dutch master and of one or two othersoil. In his notes at the time he records his his description of the “Anatomy Lesson," conviction that mere travelling and sight- of the best pictures in the Six Gallery, of the seeing, even in foreign lands, are much less Rubens in the Antwerp Cathedral, etc. In useful to the artist than concentration and The Hague he also executed a number of persistence in study. In the works of the portraits, paintings and drawings—of the
Countess von Stirrum, of Mrs. August Bel- barous period, of provincialism, shirt-sleeves mont and child, of the charming young and indiscriminate tobacco, testified to by Princess Marie of Holland and some of the Mrs. Trollope, Fanny Kemble, and even ladies of her court, of a Swedish friend, Fenimore Cooper, and which had succeedLeenders, perhaps the ambassador, with ed the greater courtliness and Old World his violin, and others; and among his figure culture of the Colonial and Revolutionary pictures, most of which were sent home epoch, was gradually giving way to somefor sale, were the “ Jew Boy” (1851), the thing better. In painting, the almost com"Card Players,” the "Savoyard," and plete restriction to portraits was being bro“Pestal,” the last, finished later, in Amer- ken by a growing appreciation of figure ica. In the winter he made many studies painting and familiar genre;--the time, of skaters, and skated himself. Numerous prophesied by Inman, "when the rage for excursions with his friends—to Rotterdam, portraits in America will give way to a purer Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Quinderburg (a taste," was arriving. The taste may not suburb of The Hague), and other localities have been purer, butit was broader-thecult -varied his work in the galleries and in his of Meyer von Bremen was conterminous own atelier; he was elected a member of with the interest (fostered by both literature the Pulchri Studio, an artist's club; at the and art) in Indian life and border warfare. beginning of his modest career as a col- The latter was prevalent enough to affect lector he purchased, at the sale of the effects the returned painter; after a brief sojourn of the deceased William II, King of Hol- in Washington we find him making twice, land, in his palace in Tilburg, North Bra- in 1856 and in 1857, the long journey to the bant, the handsome carved oaken cabinet, head of Lake Superior, establishing himself now in the dining-room in the house in in the woods in a primitive camp studio of Fifty-fifth Street; and a carved bedstead, his own construction, which was "everyalso in his collection, was shown at an exhi- thing an artist could desire," and painting bition of antiquities in Amsterdam. Finally, red Indians with as much zeal as that with toward the end of his sojourn in the Dutch which he had been copying Rembrandts. capital, he was offered the position of court Of one of these aboriginal portraits, still painter, but he had not yet seen Paris, and preserved in his residence in this city, he rehe left for that city in August, 1855. lated that the sitter, a maid, moved by the
Knaus, Healy, and others of his Ameri- superstitious fear of the savages that her can and Düsseldorf acquaintances were al- death would follow the taking of her image, ready there; some of them, as Thomas called with a friend to inspect the comHicks and E. Wood Perry, had fallen under pleted work, took it to the door under prethe influence of Couture, and Johnson tence of wishing more light, and then sudworked in his atelier, making a copy of denly fled with the dreaded thing under her the head of a sleeping soldier by Couture. arm. Whereupon the painter, moved to Comfortably installed at No. 14, Boulevard indignation, gave chase, overtook the spoilPoissonière, he soon found himself so con- ers, and brought back his picture. In this tent that, as he said in later life, nothing less northern expedition he also painted several than the news of the death of his mother, he portraits, but, having invested his own capthought, would have brought him back to ital and the sum of five hundred dollars his native shore. But on the receipt of this placed at his disposal by his father for the intelligence he sailed for home in the steam- same purpose, in some land speculation, ship Arago on the 24th of October. In and lost it all, he found himself under the 1885, 1891, and 1897 he visited Europe necessity of stopping at Cincinnati on his again; in 1891, to see the Salon and the homeward trip, in November, 1857, and Royal Academy, with Rowse, who remained establishing there a temporary professional one of his intimate friends till the end of his career as a portrait-painter until the family life; and in 1897, with his wife and daughter, finances were restored to their original conto Paris and to Madrid to see the Velasquez, dition. remaining abroad some five months. In the sixties we find him again returning
The arts, in the United States to which to the forests, both in the very early spring he returned in 1855, were apparently enter- and in the autumn—this time in the neighing upon a period of development; the bar- borhood of his native Fryeburg, where,
among other things, he made some forty ecdotic painter (so to speak) essayed more careful studies in oil for a large painting, dangerous themes-Happy Childhood playthe rural New England annual festival of ing in the Sun, Rustic Comedy, and Do“Sugaring Off.” This he hoped some day mestic Drama and Piety and Sentiment; to carry to completion as his masterpiece, but a saving grace, a sure instinct, saved and on one or two occasions made definite him from them all--his kindliness never led attempts to secure the commission from him astray, his sense of humor was beautisome wealthy patron of the arts. In these fully apportioned, the faintest touch of sarstudies of the native types, both wild and casm kills the sentimentality. Consider the domestic, which are comparatively un- distance between the lightness of touch, the known, the same qualities which distin- mellow humor, of the “Glass with the guished his other work are manifest--pos- Squire,” for example, or the “Reprimand,” sibly most distinctly the good judgment, the or the "Nantucket School of Philosophy," careful avoidance of carrying the obvious and the heavy-handed Teutonic renderings thing too far. It is this discreetness, this of Vautier and Defregger; he never descends knowledge of that which is within the prov- to the mere story-telling, or the merely ince of painting and of that which is not, comic, as does Knaus; his pathos is not which constitutes probably the distinguish- forced, more plausible than that of Israels; ing quality of Mr. Johnson's genre painting, his conception of this rendering of “the life and which differentiates him so strongly of the poor," of "the tillers of the soil” (and from many of his contemporaries and imme- the ex-toilers of the sea), preaches no ugly diate predecessors. “The Old Kentucky gospel of discontent, as does so much of Home," painted in 1859, now in the Lenox the contemporary French and Flemish art Library, gave him the beginning of his of this genre; his Nantucket neighbors know reputation in this line. Seldom has an an- nothing of the "protestation douloureuse de