Johnson made several paintings in collaboration with his fellow American artists Louis Rémy Mignot (1831–1870), Worthington Whittredge (1820–1910), and Jervis McEntee (1828–1891). All three are best known as Hudson River School landscape painters; Johnson painted the figures that people their landscapes and interiors.
Johnson’s earliest collaborations were with Mignot: first in The Hague, where they had met during Johnson’s stay, 1851–1855 (Poort van een Kastel bij Winter [Doorway of a Castle in Winter], c.1851–52), and later in America, when Mignot was developing sketches he had made during his 1857 trip to Ecuador with Frederic Church (Street View in Guayaquil, 1859).
Johnson and McEntee were close confidants. They socialized, traveled together, and exchanged letters across decades; Johnson makes many appearances in McEntee’s diaries. Together, they painted Landscape with Figures, c. 1862 and Children in the Wood (Percival P. and Madeleine Baxter), 1882.
Johnson and Whittredge were longtime friends as well. As young men they lived together in Düsseldorf where both were studying painting, and there worked together in Emanuel Leutze’s studio on Leutze’s monumental painting Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851. Later in America, c. 1864–65, they collaborated on the interior scenes An Old New England Kitchen and Sunday Morning.
Johnson’s relationships with these artists were mutually beneficial, personally and professionally, and the works benefited from the artists’ complementary strengths. —AM