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Marshall Johnson   Click Images to Enlarge

Marshall Johnson
Ships at Sea (circa 1890)


Oil on canvas
25 x 30 inches








(American, 1850-1921)


Marshall Johnson is renowned for his atmospheric, dramatic marine paintings that depict ships at sea with realistic detail. The artist was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1850 and died there in 1921.

In 1868, Johnson was a sailor aboard the Sunbeam, bound for South America. The ship burned at sea in 1871 and the artist was one of 12 survivors who was rescued off the coast of South America. He soon returned to Boston, where he studied at the Lowell Institute and with noted marine painter William E. Norton. From 1887-1890, he studied Holland, France and England. When he returned to America, he opened a professional studio on Boston's India Wharf.

Johnson was a member of the Boston Art Club, the Copley Society of Boston (1900) and the Jordan Art Galleries of Boston. In 1923, the Vose Galleries of Boston gave him a Memorial Exhibition.

The artist exhibited at the Boston Art Club and the Copley Society from 1880-1909; the National Academy of Design (NYC, 1886-1887, 1890-1891; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (1887); the Art Institute of Chicago (1900-1902, 1905, 1909, 1911 and his work is represented in the permanent collection of the Peabody Museum, Salem, MA and as the editors of Who Was Who in America Art state, “During the last two decades of the 19 th -century, his works were very popular” (page 1746, vol. 2). Although he was capable of painting any subject, he preferred watching ships at sea and painting finely executed marines.

The artist is represented in the permanent collections at the Butler Art Institute of Youngstown, Ohio; the Peabody Museum, Salem, MA and the Navy Museum, Washington, D.C.

References: E.H.H. Archibald, Dictionary of Sea Painters (1980); M.V. Brewerton, The Marine Paintings and Drawings at the Peabody Museum (1968); Who Was Who in American Art (vol. 2)