Arts and Leisure

Flashback Photo: ‘The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket’ by Eastman Johnson

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Detail from The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket (1880) by Eastman Johnson.

Detail from The Cranberry Harvest, Island of Nantucket (1880) by Eastman Johnson.

The name of Eastman Johnson is inscribed above the entrance to the  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for a reason: He co-founded the world-famous institution.

Eastman Johnson was a Maine-born artist whose politically connected father brought him into contact with well-known portrait subjects.

Eastman Johnson elf portrait

Eastman Johnson self portrait

He was best known for painting scenes of everyday life and portraits of famous figures such as  Nathaniel HawthorneRalph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Eastman Johnson was born July 29, 1824 in Lovell, Maine, and grew up in Fryeburg and Augusta.

He was the eighth and last child of  Mary Kimball Chandler Johnson and Phillip Carrigan Johnson, who served as Maine’s secretary of state for two years before moving to Washington, D.C. as an appointee to the U.S. Naval Department.

Eastman had been apprenticed to a Boston lithographer in 1840. He joined his family in Washington, D.C., at about age 20. There he earned a living drawing crayon portraits , including John Quincy Adams and Dolly Madison

He studied in Europe before returning to New York City. He made his name with his masterpiece, a painting called Negro Life at the South, a street scene of slaves in Washington, D.C.

Negro Life at the South by Eastman Johnson

Negro Life at the South by Eastman Johnson

Eastman Johnson sympathetically depicted the plight of slaves and, while on an extended visit to Wisconsin, members of the Ojibwe tribe. He also painted genre scenes – everyday scenes of ordinary people – of husking bees, sugaring off, an old stagecoach and cranberry harvesting. In his time he was known as The American Rembrandt.

Sugaring Off at the Camp, Fryeburg, Maine by Eastman Johnson

Sugaring Off at the Camp, Fryeburg, Maine by Eastman Johnson

Eastman Johnson died April 5, 1906.

This story was updated from the 2014 version.

 

 

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Molly Landrigan

    July 30, 2014 at 9:53 am

    My sister would have loved this. She used to cull cranberries on the Cape.

  2. Gail Dedrick

    July 29, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Considering the caption, I was expecting pointy shoes and hat.

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