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Frank Tenney Johnson (1874-1939)

 

Frank Tenney Johnson was born in Big Grove, Iowa, in 1874 and was raised on a farm adjacent to the Old Overland Trail which he used frequently in his works.  At the age of 10 Johnson moved with his family to Milwaukee where he apprenticed to a panorama painter, F.W. Heine.  It was from Heine that Johnson first mastered the anatomy of the horse.

 

Johnson made two trips to study at New Yorkís Art Studentís League where he was taught by Twachtman, Henri, and William Merritt Chase.

 

Taking work as an illustrator, Johnson headed west across the Rockies in 1904 in the employ of the magazine, Field and Stream.  Johnson stayed on with the magazine, as his illustrations were extremely well received. 

 

In the 1920ís Johnson moved to Alhambra, California, where he shared an art studio with Clyde Forsythe, and his easel art took prominence over his illustrations.  Johnson was a true master of the western nocturne.  At a show in New Yorkís Grand Central Art Galleries, Amon Carter bought the entire exhibition.

 

In the 1930ís Frank Tenney Johnson would spend his summers painting and exploring Yellowstone Park near his cabin in Wyoming.  Having attended a dance on new yearís eve, 1939, where he is said to have kissed a pretty girl, Johnson died the following day of meningitis.



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