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Inscription

lower left: David Johnson. / 1871; reverse: David Johnson / 1871.

Provenance

Marie Louise Johnson, wife of the artist, Walden, New York; sold 20 May 1919 to Thomas B. Clarke [1848-1931], New York;[1] his estate; sold as part of the Clarke collection 29 January 1936, through (M. Knoedler & Co., New York), to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1947 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1924
Exhibition of Portraits by Early American Portrait Painters, The Union League Club, New York, February 1924, no. 5.
1928
Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Collected by Thomas B. Clarke, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928-1931, unnumbered and unpaginated catalogue.
1967
Loan for display with permanent collection, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1967-1980.
1968
This New Man: A Discourse in Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1968, p. 201.
Bibliography
1928
Portraits by Early American Artists of the Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Collected by Thomas B. Clarke. Exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1928, unnumbered.
1929
Salisbury, William. "The Clarke Collection of Paintings." Antiquarian 12 (June 1929): 74, repro.
1952
Rutledge and Lane 1952, 127.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 74, repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 183, repro.
1980
Baur, John I.H. "'...the exact brushwork of Mr. David Johnson.' An American Landscape Painter, 1827-1908." The American Art Journal 12 (Autumn 1980): 56, fig. 37, incorrectly identified as owned by the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 212, repro.
1996
Kelly, Franklin, with Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., Deborah Chotner, and John Davis. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1996: 369-372, color repro.
Technical Summary

The painting support is plain-weave fabric, with double threads in the horizontal direction, that is unlined and mounted to its original four-member, mortise-and-tenon stretcher. An off-white ground was evenly applied to a medium thickness with out masking the fabric weave. The brushwork is straight-forward and mechanical, with subsequent layers applied over paint which first was allowed to dry completely. This slow, methodical handling is evident throughout the painting, a single exception being the right shoulder, where the artist broadened the jacket silhouette. A final, carefully applied white line of paint defines the perimeter of the painting. In 1952 the painting underwent varnish removal and was restored. The painting is in very good condition, and the varnish has not discolored.