Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Frank Tenney Johnson (1874-1939)
Frank Tenney Johnson was born near Big Grove, Iowa in 1874 and died in Los Angeles, California in 1939. Johnson was born on a ranch near Council Bluffs on the Missouri River, was educated in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. At the age of fourteen, he ran away to apprentice himself to the panoramic painter, F. W. Heinie in Milwaukee. At the age of fifteen, he studied with the former Texas Ranger, Richard Lorenz. He then painted portraits and worked on the staff of the Milwaukee newspaper. In 1902, he went to New York City to study at the Art Students League with Henri, Chase, Kenneth Hayes Miller, and Mora. He became a newspaper and fashion artist. In 1904, Johnson spent the summer on a ranch in Hayden, Colorado, observing cowboy life. As a successful illustrator, he worked on the Zane Grey books of the West. In 1920, Johnson followed his friend, Clyde Forsythe to Alhambra, California where they shared a studio that became a meeting place for leading artists such as Russell, Borein, Norman Rockwell, and Dean Cornwell. Johnson's "moonlight" technique of painting Western scenes under the stars was nationally famous when he died at the height of his career due to spinal meningitis possibly contracted from a kiss.
View high resolution images of works by Frank Tenney Johnson when available.

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"My First Horse"
Medium: Oil
Image Size: 34 inches high by 24 inches wide
Dated 1915