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2022 Fall Fine Art and Interiors Auction

Sat, Oct 8, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 470

Attrib. Eastman Johnson, Portrait of a Gentleman

Estimate: $400 - $450

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Conte crayon and gouache drawing on paper attributed to Eastman Johnson (American, 1824-1906); bust length, three quarter view portrait of an unknown gentleman in 19th century attire. Unsigned. Typed note en verso of frame reads "Crayon Portrait/by Eastman Johnson/Donated by Eugenia U. Harrod/March 17, 1913". Metal placard with artist attribution affixed lower center of frame. Housed under glass in an oval gilt wood frame. Sight: 25" H x 20" W. Framed: 31" H x 26" W. Mid 19th century. Biography: Eastman Johnson was an American genre painter born in Lovell, Maine in 1824. At the age of 18, he began making crayon portraits of prominent figures such as Dolly Madison, John Quincy Adams, and various senators as his father worked closely with the government at the time. He sought to open a gallery of all the portraits. In 1846 he moved to Boston and received patronage from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to make a series of these crayon portraits. In 1849, he traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany and began painting under Emanuel Leutze. He spent the rest of his time abroad studying Dutch Old Master painters, and returned to the United States in 1855. His fame began to spiral when he exhibited a series of genre paintings based on the daily lives of American slaves which he had studied at Mt. Vernon. His paintings created controversy because they exposed realistic slave activities and had a wide influence on peoples' knowledge and understanding of the institution at the time. After this, he became extremely successful and continued to paint genre scenes until the end of his life, when he returned to portraiture until his death in 1906 (source: National Gallery of Art). Note: This portrait is believed to depict an associate of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Eastman Johnson was commissioned by Longfellow to produce a series of portraits of the Mutual Admiration Society, a group of writers who spent time with Longfellow editing each others works, as well as his two sisters in 1846. The known portraits include Charles Sumner, Cornelius Conway Felton, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well as his sister Mary Longfellow Greenleaf. All of the portraits show heavy resemblance in their medium: charcoal and crayon, style: bust portrait, time period and clothing: circa 1840 according to the bow tie and stiff collar, and what appears to be the exact same gilt wood frames. It is believed this portrait could be of another close friend or family member of Longfellow's and was separated from the group currently housed at the Longfellow House in Massachusetts. Note: Eugenia Harrod was married to Major Benjamin Morgan Harrod who was the brother of Susan Dayton Harrod. Susan Dayton Harrod married Major William Boyd and their son Charles Harrod Boyd married Annette M. Dearborn. Provenance: The Estate of Charles Boyd Coleman, Jr., Chattanooga, TN. Descended in the family of Annette Maria Dearborn Boyd, daughter of Greenleaf Dearborn (1786-1846) and great granddaughter of Henry Dearborn (1751-1829) on the side of her mother, Pamela Augusta Gilman (1802-1880). Annette was married to Charles Harrod Boyd and had four children, including Julia Wingate Boyd (wife of Lewis M. Coleman, Jr.). Lewis M. Coleman, Jr. was the son of CSA Lt. Colonel Lewis M. Coleman and Mary Ambler Marshall, granddaughter of John Marshall (1755-1835), fourth Chief Justice of the United States, and Secretary of State under John Adams (1800-1801).


Overall good condition. Foxing spots, areas of toning/acid burn, surface of drawing. Some waviness to paper. Several areas of loss, largest 2 inches, cracks, to frame.

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