Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné
Patricia Hills, PhD, Founder and Director | Abigael MacGibeny, MA, Project Manager

About the Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné Project

The result of Dr. Patricia Hills’s lifelong research on Eastman Johnson (1824–1906), the Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné will provide open access to the artist’s nearly 1,500 known works for scholars, students, and general art lovers across the globe.

The new website will offer a comprehensive view of the works of Johnson and a unique insight into the cultural topics and historical events that inform, and are informed by, his art. 

In addition to providing primary data on the artist’s known artworks, in the future the site will link to a discussion of Johnson’s relevance for today through essays on the representations of First Peoples; the visual culture of the Civil War; images of Black Americans; the agrarian communal ideal; and depictions of women suggesting their rich interior lives.

History of the Project

In 1971 Dr. Hills began her research on Eastman Johnson as she prepared to write her doctoral dissertation on his genre painting for the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.  Because of her museum training (Museum of Modern Art, curatorial assistant, 1960–63), her first step was to examine as many works by the artist as possible, and cull names of his artworks from museum catalogues, auction catalogues, and the Checklist of Johnson’s then-known works published by John I. H. Baur in his 1940 exhibition catalogue Eastman Johnson. At this time, 1971, she had also been hired by the Whitney Museum of American Art to organize a large Johnson retrospective (1972) which traveled to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Center. 

Following the 1972 Whitney exhibition, Dr. Hills continued to examine Johnson paintings brought to her by dealers, auction houses, museums, and private collectors for examination and to maintain her detailed object files and photographic files. She also continued to engage in scholarship, published articles, delivered conference papers on Johnson and other nineteenth-century genre painters and draughtsmen, and aided curators organizing Johnson exhibitions: Marc Simpson, 1990; Teresa Carbone, 1999; and Brian Allen, 2004.  

In 2012 Abigael MacGibeny (MA, Boston University; Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies, Tufts University) joined the EJCR project, beginning by engaging in primary research and developing a database from Dr. Hills’s object cards. She became Project Manager in 2019.

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National Academy of Design as Long-Term Steward

In December 2019 the National Academy of Design (founded 1825) stepped forward to assume the mantel of long-term steward of the Eastman John Catalogue Raisonné public-access website and provide the home for the Patricia Hills Eastman Johnson Archives—the paper, photographic, and digital files. This monumental achievement will generate broader scholarship and understanding of not only Johnson’s complete body of work, but also the relevance of these multivalent images for the present day.    

Johnson’s ties to the Academy are longstanding. In addition to participating actively in the Academy’s annual exhibitions throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, the artist served on the institution’s governing body: the Council, from 1866 to 1870, as Vice President from 1874 to 1876, and again on the Council for a three-year term beginning in 1890. Johnson taught at the Academy’s school for the academic years of 1867 and 1868. And the Academy holds a selection of extraordinary examples of Johnson’s work in oil, including his earliest known self-portrait made in the United States. 

The Academy continues both to respect and conserve its collection of the art and design from the past and to educate the public about the stellar accomplishments of its artist Academicians, as well as to showcase contemporary artists, designers, and architects who are remaking art and design for tomorrow.

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Meet the EJCR Project Team

Patricia Hills, Founder and Director (BA, Stanford University; MA, Hunter College, CUNY; PhD, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University) is Professor Emerita of Art History at Boston University, where she taught from 1978 to 2014. She also taught courses at York College and Hunter College, CUNY; the Graduate School of Columbia University; The Institute of Fine Arts, N.Y.U.; the University of Wyoming; and the Freie Universität in Berlin. From 1971 to 1987 she also curated exhibitions for the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has published books, exhibition catalogues, and essays on ninteenth- and twentieth-century American art, African American artists, and art and politics of the 1930s and today, including  Eastman Johnson (1972); The Painters’ America (1974); The Figurative Tradition and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1981); Alice Neel (1983); John Singer Sargent (1986); Stuart Davis (1995); Modern Art in the USA: Issues and Controversies of the 20th Century (2001), May Stevens (2005); and Painting Harlem Modern: The Art of Jacob Lawrence (2009). In 2011 she received the College Art Association award for “Distinguished Teaching of Art History.” Her work on the catalogue raisonné of Eastman Johnson began in 1971 as she was organizing the exhibition of the artist’s work for the Whitney Museum and writing her dissertation.

Abigael MacGibeny, Project Manager and independent art historian, has worked on the Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné since 2012. She earned her Master’s degree in Art History from Boston University (Dr. Patricia Hills, advisor) and Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Tufts University. She has worked at commercial galleries and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Prior to her work on the EJCR, Abigael, the daughter of an artist, had experience cataloguing thousands of works of art. As project manager, her work has included contributing to the content of the EJCR and managing its publication as a website. She is also interested in twentieth-century and contemporary art, and her essay “States of Being: Berta R. Golahny’s Landscape of Man” was published in Woman’s Art Journal (fall/winter 2018).

Project Advisors

Brian Allen was the director of the museum division of the New-York Historical Society and the director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He also served the curator of American art and director of collections and exhibitions at the Clark Art Institute. He received his BA from Wesleyan University, MA from Williams College, and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the art critic at National Review and writes about art for many other journals.  

Linda S. Ferber is New-York Historical Society museum director emerita. She was Andrew Mellon curator of American art at the Brooklyn Museum (now emerita) and chief curator during a long tenure. She has organized exhibitions, taught and lectured on topics including William T. Richards; the American Pre-Raphaelites; the American Watercolor Movement; the Ashcan School; Albert Bierstadt; Asher B. Durand; and the Hudson River School. She is now active as an independent curator.

Marc Simpson received his BA degree from Middlebury College (in both music and art) and his PhD from Yale University with a dissertation devoted to the American artists and writers working in the Worcestershire village of Broadway in the 1880s. He has since worked principally on topics in late nineteenth-century American art. Simpson has held curatorial posts in American art at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (1983–94) and the Clark Art Institute (2004–09), as well as organizing major exhibitions for the latter in 1997 and 2013. In 2000 he was appointed Associate Director/Lecturer in the Graduate Program in the History of Art at Williams College, from which he retired in 2013.

Consultants for Interpretation

Rika Burnham is a leading theorist and practitioner of art museum gallery teaching. She has served as Head of Education at the Frick Collection, Museum Educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Project Director for TIME/Teaching Institute in Museum Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Currently a Lecturer at Columbia University, Burnham’s publications include Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experience (Getty, 2011, with Elliott Kai-Kee), and catalogue and chapter essays that have appeared under the aegis of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Australia, Barnes Foundation, and SITE Santa Fe, as well as in numerous academic journals. Burnham was appointed a Getty Research Institute Museum Scholar in 2018 and an Attingham Trust Scholar at the Royal Collection Studies Programme, London in 2006. She holds a degree in art history from Harvard University and was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2014.

Adrienne L. Childs is an independent scholar, art historian and curator. She is an adjunct curator at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and is an associate of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Childs specializes in European and American art with a special interest in race and representation. Among the many exhibitions she curated are Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition (2020, The Phillips Collection) and The Black Figure in the European Imaginary (2017, The Cornell Fine Arts Museum). She contributed to The Image of the Black in Western Artseries and has published widely on African American, European, and decorative arts.

Scott Manning Stevens is a citizen of the Akwesasne Mohawk nation and holds the position of associate professor and director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program at Syracuse University. He earned his PhD in English from Harvard University and is also a tenured member of the English faculty at Syracuse. His research and publications focus on Indigenous literary, material, and visual culture, as well as museum studies, and has appeared in journals such as the American Indian Culture and Research JournalNorthwest ReviewProse StudiesArts, and Early American Literature. He is a co-editor and contributor to the collection, Why You Can’t Teach United States History without American Indians. His most recent contributions include an essay titled “From ‘Iroquois Cruelty’ to the Mohawk Warrior Society: Stereotyping and the Strategic Uses of a Reputation for Violence,” in Violence and Indigenous Communities: Confronting the Past and Engaging the Present (Northwestern University Press, 2021). He recently completed a Fulbright at the University of Debrecen in Hungary, doing research on ethnographic museums. Next year he will be a fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Jeffrey C. Stewart is a professor and former chair of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The author of numerous articles, essays, and museum catalogues, Stewart’s biography, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford, 2018), won the 2018 National Book Award in Nonfiction and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, among others. He has been a Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Rome III, a W. E. B. Du Bois and a Charles Warren fellow at Harvard University, a Schomburg Center fellow, a lecturer at the Terra Foundation for American Art in Giverny, France, and Director of Research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Museum in Washington, D.C. Stewart is also a curator with two major exhibitions, To Color America: Portraits by Winold Reiss, at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (1989) and Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen, that originated at the Zimmerli Museum of Art at Rutgers University, and toured nationally (1998–2000). He has also authored a popular history book, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History (1996).

Alan Wallach is Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and Professor of American Studies Emeritus at the College of William and Mary. He was co-curator of Thomas Cole: Landscape into History (1994), author of Exhibiting Contradiction: Essays on the Art Museum in the United States (1998), and co-editor of the collection Transatlantic Romanticism (2015). He has also published more than a hundred articles and reviews on American art and art institutions. In 2007 he was the recipient of the College Art Association’s Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award.

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