Prolific genre, landscape, and portrait painter Jonathan Eastman Johnson was born in Lowell, Maine in 1824, but spent much of his childhood in Augusta, where his father served as Maine’s Secretary of State. Johnson began studying lithography and crayon portraiture in 1840 at J. H. Bufford’s Lithography shop in Boston. His talents as a draftsman soon led him to become a crayon portraitist, a career he pursued for the following decade in Washington, D.C., and in Boston, where he executed portraits of Hawthorne, Emerson, and Longfellow. From 1849 to 1851 he shared a studio in Düsseldorf with American expatriate painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. From 1851 to 1855 he studied at The Hague in Holland, where he was known as the “American Rembrandt.” After a brief stay in Paris during which he studied with Thomas Couture, Johnson returned to the United States in 1855. He began to establish himself as a painter of contemporary American subjects and painted in Wisconsin, Ohio and Washington D.C. before settling in New York City in 1859. In 1857 Johnson lived and painted among the native Ojibwe in Wisconsin. In 1858 he established a New York studio, and for the next decade of his life focused on southern African-American subjects, including his ground-breaking A Ride for Liberty–The Fugitive Slaves which won him election into the National Academy of Design, where he exhibited from 1861 to 1900. At the same time he developed a reputation for domestic subjects, including depictions of his wife and daughter. The artist’s patrons included some of the city’s most prominent collectors, and he soon became one of New York City’s most admired artists. In the 1870s Johnson began painting rural genre and rustic interior scenes inspired by visits to the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. After 1880 Johnson devoted himself primarily to formal portrait commissions, painting such well-known personalities as John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He died in New York City in 1906. Eastman was a member of the National Academy of Design, the Society of American Artists, and the Century Association. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe, and is represented in major collections including, among others, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the New York Historical Society; the Brooklyn Museum; Detroit Institute of Art; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid; the National Museum of American Art; the National Gallery of Art; the Corcoran Gallery, and the White House in Washington D.C.