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Frank Tenney Johnson

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Start/Birth date: 1874
Death/End date: 1939

Frank Tenney Johnson was an important, traditional painter of Western life. With a background in newspaper and fashion art, he was smitten by the cowboy life in Colorado in 1904. It was then that he began his career of Western landscapes and moonlight scenes under the stars, for which he became nationally famous. He was friends and colleagues with Russell, Borein and Norman Rockwell, all whom influenced his art as he rose to prominence. Johnson helped his friend Zane Grey by illustrating his famous series of Western books. Sadly, he died at the height of his career from spinal meningitis.


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Frank Tenney Johnson was an important, traditional painter of Western life. With a background in newspaper and fashion art, he was smitten by the cowboy life in Colorado in 1904. It was then that he began his career of Western landscapes and moonlight scenes under the stars, for which he became internationally famous. He focused on scenes featuring horses outside saloons, inns and houses, always punctuated by the warm glow from the lamps inside. In this genre he can be considered a pioneer, as his night pieces still serve as the archetype for such works in western art. He was friends and colleagues with Russell, Borein and Norman Rockwell, all whom influenced his art as he rose to prominence. Johnson helped his friend Zane Grey by illustrating his famous series of Western books. Sadly, he died at the height of his life from spinal meningitis, an abrupt and inglorious end to a fantastic career.

 

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