charoal and pastel, with traces of graphite on brown wove paper
Gift of Dr. Charles Appleton Packard, Class of 1848
A Maine native, Eastman Johnson excelled in portraiture. He left for Europe in 1849 and received stellar training in Germany and then at The Hague. His work reveals his successful assimilation of the style and techniques of Rembrandt and other seventeenth-century Dutch masters, whom he admired. Johnson returned to America in 1855. During a studio visit by his friend Charles Packard, Johnson sketched his portrait while Packard examined one of his sketchbooks from The Hague; the walls are lined with canvases and a palette. With his deft use of dark tones in both the charcoal and brown paper, highlighted with white pastel, Johnson created a masterful, three-dimensional work. On presenting the drawing to Bowdoin, Packard recalled Johnson’s offer to take the portrait, perhaps because Packard was able “to secure for him some valuable commissions for portraits. . . . In a day or two the sketch was complete.”
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