Frank Tenney Johnson (American, 1874–1939),
Night in Old Wyoming
oil on board, 17 ½ x 13 ½ in.; 44.45 x 34.29 cm
Given in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur C. Langmuir and Mr. and Mrs. J.W.B. Van de Water by their fam, 1964.762
Often described as following in the footsteps of Frederic Remington (1861–1909) and Charlie Russell (1864–1926), Johnson built a powerful reputation as an illustrator for magazines and for books by authors such as Zane Grey. Johnson was personally familiar with the world of the cowboy, but he also didn’t hesitate to construct scenes from his imagination. He once said, somewhat paradoxically, that “It has been my ambitious desire to record…with fidelity those events and picturesque phases of life which have given us our romantic western background.”
Johnson’s night scenes may have been inspired by Remington’s famous nocturnes, but his brushwork is much looser, perhaps reflecting his training with William Merritt Chase.