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 Joseph W. Johns  (c.1833 - 1877)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania      Known for: landscape and genre painting

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Joseph John is primarily known as Joseph W. Johns

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Ad Code: 3
Joseph W John
from Auction House Records.
Life's Morning and Evening
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Joseph W. Johns  c 1833-1877 Pennsylvania

Joseph W. Johns was born in Pennsylvania in c1833, aged 27 in 1860 (1860 US Census for Philadelphia, 13th Ward).  He was associated with the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and exhibited there.  

The following is a review of his studio work, published in 1870 in the Philadelphia Press (30 March 1870):  “Joseph Johns, the former curator of the Academy of Fine Arts, has a pleasant sunny little studio at No. 1214 Wallace street.  He is one of those imaginative artists who revel in the ideal and fanciful—who, not content with the beauteous forms vouchsafed to mortal gaze, explore the realms of dreamland and even invade the abodes of celestial beings that they may present on canvas images of more than human loveliness.  One of the best pictures Mr. Johns has painted for some time is one recently finished, and now on exhibition at Earle’s Galleries, entitled “Angles of Peace,” forty by fifty inches in size. A little child is represented trudging along the path of life, its arms upraised and its eyes directed with an innocent, cherubic expression toward a dove which is flying on just in advance…[The article describes this work in greater detail.] … This artist has now upon his easel an ideal subject to be entitled “Faith.”  A woman of the semi-angelic style of beauty stands with hands clasped and a devout expression indicating communion with Heaven and the firm reliance in Zion “who doeth all things well.”  An open book on a stand near by intimates that she has been drawing inspiration and comfort from Holy Writ.  The idea is a simple one, and is well illustrated.”

At least one of his works, The Changed Cross, was made into a Chromolithograph, marketed by the Hoover Company in Philadelphia (advertised in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 Dec. 1870, p. 3).

In 1875 Johns held a week-long free exhibition of his paintings at the McClees Galleries in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 March 1875, p. 5, advertisement).

Joseph Johns, “artist” died of consumption in Philadelphia in “his 45th year,” (obituary notice, Philadelphia North American and Daily Advertiser, 26 Feb. 1877, p. 2).

Information provided by David G. Wright, architect and researcher living north of Baltimore, who is studying the life and work of some of the less well-known Philadelphia artists of the last third of the 19th century.

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