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 Marshall Johnson, Jr.  (1850 - 1921)

About: Marshall Johnson, Jr.


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: marine-sailing ship painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Marshall Johnson, Jr.
1850 (Boston, Massachusetts)


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marine-sailing ship painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marine painter Marshall Johnson, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, attending Lowell Institute, but his date of birth (1846 or 1850) is as uncertain as his post-mortem fame, or lack thereof. After being a very well known artist in the 1880s and 1890s, there were no ceremonies or death notices when Johnson died in 1921. Such was Johnson's fate despite the fact that he was recognized enough to have his 1883 oil painting of the ship, "Constitution," become a logo in the advertisements of a life insurance company in New England.

In his youth, at least, he experienced major good fortune in being one of twelve sailors who survived a fire on board ship, and its subsequent sinking, off the South American coast in 1870. In Boston again after this disaster, Johnson studied with another painter of marines, William E. Norton, for three years. Though he then went into the painting business for himself, he traveled to England, Holland and France in the late 1880s to study the painting of ships and the sea. Upon his return to the United States, the artist maintained a studio in Boston.

Johnson's ship paintings were dramatic and romantic with realistic detail, and were very popular in the latter 19th Century. During his lifetime, he exhibited at the Jordan Art Gallery, Boston Art Club, and Copley Society. He also had a successful showing of nearly thirty of his paintings at the Vose Galleries in Boston.

While his art is represented in the Marine Arts Gallery in Salem, Massachusetts, much of his work is in private hands.

Source: Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"

Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Born Boston, MA May 13,1850 and died Boston March 21, 1921. Education : Lowell Institute; Boston Art Club; and with W.E. Norton and Holland, France and England. Member : Boston Art Club; Copley Society. Holdings : Peabody Museum in Salem. "At 18, he was a sailor aboard the "Sunbeam" bound for South America. The ship burned at sea, but he was rescued.

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