We are most grateful to the National Academy of Design for embracing the Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné Project and agreeing to be the long-term steward not only of the Patricia Hills EJCR Archive, which NAD plans to make available to scholars, but also of the EJCR website, which NAD will maintain and periodically update. Director Gregory Wessner and his staff have been most enthusiastic about this endeavor and moving it to completion. Sara Reisman, Chief Curator and Director of NA Affairs, and Blaise Marshall, Communications Manager, have been unstinting in preparations for the launch of the EJCR “Paintings.” Many thanks also to our other excellent partners on the project: copyeditor Jessie Sentivan; Erik Schoonhoven, our consultant in the Netherlands; and project assistant Pavla Berghen-Wolf. The brilliant and multi-talented designer Susannah Shepherd of panOpticon, provider of the EJCR database and website, worked with us to custom design an interactive web site compatible with the NAD website. —Patricia Hills and Abigael MacGibeny
Many patrons, colleagues, and friends deserve to be acknowledged for their encouragement of the Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné Project. First, I want to thank my dissertation advisors, Professor Robert Goldwater at the Institute of Fine Arts and John I. H. Baur, then the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Baur not only read the dissertation but hired me to be guest curator for the Eastman Johnson retrospective held at the Whitney in 1972 and which traveled to Detroit, Oakland, and Milwaukee. Baur, who had been trained in art history at Princeton and Yale, had mounted the previous Eastman Johnson retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1940. His checklist of 472 paintings and drawings, published in the Brooklyn Museum’s catalogue, served as the basis for the more than 1,400 entries of the present EJCR; his notebooks at the Archives of American Art provided information on additional artworks that came to light after his publication. The additional works were gleaned from auction house records, exhibition records, museum accession records, diaries of sitters, and letters of Johnson and his friends, as well as works brought to me to examine in the last 50 years.
In the early 1980s in Boston gallerist Robert Vose encouraged me to take my examinations of Johnson works seriously and to create a proper catalogue raisonné based on my examination notes and research cards. The gallerist Roger Howlett of Childs Gallery offered to accept shipments of Johnson paintings sent for my examinations in Boston; later in the 2010s Adam Adelson of Adelson Galleries/Boston also offered the same services. Adam’s father Warren Adelson, who had earlier opened Adelson Galleries in New York, has been a constant supporter of the EJCR project; Warren encouraged me to apply to the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for American Art and has given me valuable advice over the decades.
I also want to thank Teresa A. Carbone who invited me to co-curate the Brooklyn Museum’s 1999 Eastman Johnson retrospective. At that time I had logged over 1,100 entries for the EJCR and my research contributed to the selection of the works included in that exhibition. Since then the staffs of many museums, some who listened to our ideas about long-term stewardship, brought new works and new information to our attention, and offered advice. At the Brooklyn Museum, Susan Fisher and Margarita Karasoulas along with TBM conservators Josh Summer, Lauren Bradley, Lisa Bruni, and Elyse Driscoll hosted a connoisseurship morning session on Johnson’s paintings and drawings for our EJCR team. We also acknowledge the interest in the EJCR of Michael Ryan, Margi Hofer, and Emily Croll at the New-York Historical Society.
Since the 1970s other art-historians and editors have passed along advice and information that has been greatly appreciated: Fred Hills, Leo Steinberg, Roger B. Stein, John Walsh, Jr, Susan Hobbs, Wanda Corn, Alan Wallach, Richard Saunders, Kathleen Foster, Kenneth Myers, Katherine Manthorne, Sarah Cash, Wendy Wick Reaves, Karen Quinn, William Gerdts, and Patricia Johnston. Supportive gallerists and dealers, besides Roger Howlett, Warren and Adam Adelson mentioned above, have been Jonathan Boos, Martha Fleischman, Debra Force, Stuart Feld, Betty Krulik, Paul Worman, and the late Ira Spanierman, John Driscoll, and Ken Lux. During these years my family and friends served as consultants and drivers: I want to thank my dear husband Kevin Whitfield who was continuously supportive of my work, my son Bradford Hills, my nephew Hall McCormick, and my friend Richard Anderson. My daughter Christina Hills, the CEO of Website Creation Workshop, helped secure the URL for the website.
Knowledge of the mediums and supports of pictures is important in terms of attribution and dating. I am most grateful to the conservators who answered many of my questions and participated in my examinations. In addition to the conservators at the Brooklyn Museum mentioned above, there are Margaret Holben Ellis of the Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center, who helped me attribute a pastel to Johnson’s hand, and Stephen Kornhauser, New-York Historical Society conservator, who answered questions about one of their paintings. And Joyce Hill Stoner, art historian and conservator, has put me in touch with other top conservators of the country.
Johnson unfortunately has few direct descendants, but there are many descendants of his siblings who are proud of their family relationship to Johnson. Several of the living relatives of Johnson have been most helpful by supplying us with biographical information and photographs. My thanks to them. My research was also greatly facilitated by the many private collectors, who collected Johnson because they love his work; they graciously invited me to see the paintings and drawings by Johnson in their homes.
The Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association has held conferences that were most valuable for us to ascertain “best practices,” and individual members were most responsive to specific questions I posted on the CRSA list-serv.
The Advisors to the project—Brian Allen, Linda Ferber, and Marc Simpson—have helped with the EJCR Project for years. As past curators for major museums, Brian and Marc have organized Johnson exhibitions, and Linda is deeply familiar with his work as a former Chief Curator at the Brooklyn Museum and past director of the New-York Historical Society. The three advised me on our quest for a long-term steward, for fundraising, and for general questions of connoisseurship. I am pleased they will stay connected with the EJCR Project. We also want to thank Erik Schoonhoven, who researched archives in The Netherlands and provided publicity for the project during 2019.
Jeremiah McCarthy, former curator at NAD, encouraged us to think about the language we were using and that had been historically used to describe people of color in the Americas. After discussions with him, we asked Rika Burnham, Adrienne Childs, Scott Manning Stevens, Jeffrey Stewart, and Alan Wallach to join us as Consultants for Interpretation in addressing issues of language used in the past and today. The “Racist Language/Negative Stereotypes” statement is the result of long discussions among us all. On the EJCR website, we have flagged those works in which the language is problematical.
The institutions that offered funds and administrative services are the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Boston University (and thanks to Cheryl Crombie for facilitating those funds); the Wyeth Foundation for American Art (two grants); the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for American Art; and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown. I am especially grateful to the Fenimore’s director Paul D’Ambrosio, who sponsored the Horowitz grant proposal, and to Sarah Wilcox, who facilitated the tracking of finances for that grant. I am also grateful to Kevin Gillis of the Lunder Foundation for his encouragement to fundraise for the Endowment Fund for the EJCR.
We are also appreciative of the Donors to the Endowment Fund, who are listed below.
Finally, I want to thank Abigael MacGibeny for working with me on the EJCR project since 2012. She continued with the critical art historical research the project needed, including finding new works, identifying sitters, and tracking down works whose whereabouts were unknown in communication with curators, collectors, and archivists across the country. The last seven months have been especially taxing as she sought to finish corralling every last bit of information on Johnson’s paintings and keep the project on schedule by readying the catalogue raisonné for publication from a project management standpoint. We worked collaboratively to review each entry against the information gleaned from re-examining art historical archives, records, and period correspondence in order to resolve contradictions in the records and to refine the essential descriptors of the physical artworks, their provenance, exhibition history, and literature history. In short, she has been essential to the successful launching of the catalogue raisonné and website. She has my deepest gratitude.
I am indebted to Dr. Patricia Hills for the wonderful opportunity to work with her on a project so important to her. Over the years, as both my advisor at Boston University and director of the Eastman Johnson Catalogue Raisonné, she has generously shared her professional and scholarly insights and encouraged and enabled me to deepen my knowledge. It was a special experience to accompany her on occasion when she personally examined works by Johnson. Learning from her is an honor and a pleasure, and delving into the story of each work by Eastman Johnson has rooted me in the field of art history.
Researching Johnson’s works has involved communication and cooperation with hundreds of professionals at museums and other cultural institutions, as well as private collectors who provided information and images. While they cannot all be listed here, I am deeply grateful to all for their kind cooperation.
Some colleagues assisted us repeatedly, sometimes over the course of years, actively offering information, helping to solve mysteries, and hosting our visits. I would like to recognize in particular Eric Baumgartner and Margot Chvatal, Hirschl & Adler Galleries; Tessa Kansas and Colton Klein (formerly), Sotheby’s; Paige Kestenman, Christie’s; Carey Vose and Courtney Kopplin, Vose Galleries; Mary Adair Dockery, Heritage Auctions; Tim DeWerff, Century Association; Kenneth Myers, Detroit Institute of Arts; Karen Quinn, New York State Museum; Emily Croll, New-York Historical Society; Will Coleman, formerly of the Newark Museum; Kerri Pfister, Frick Art Reference Library; Roberto Ferrari, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University; Susan Garton, National Portrait Gallery; Anne Halpern, National Gallery of Art; and Wildenstein & Company, Inc.
Finally, my love and gratitude to my parents, Emilie and Bruce MacGibeny, and to Robert C. Ryan, for their eternal encouragement.