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Using his fingers, brushes and palette knives, painter Frank Tenney Johnson (also known as F. Tenney Johnson) would perfect his own remarkable techniques. Among his many stylings was the one referred to as the "Johnson Moonlight technique"; frequently depicting nocturnal cowboy scenes which was a method he became well known for.

Born in Iowa, Frank Tenney Johnson had grown up wandering some of the same terrain explored by Lewis and Clark along the Overland Trail, and maybe this accounts for his later fixation with the American West, but whatever his initial influences Johnson decided early in his life that he would like to become a landscape painter.

After some initial studies under Richard Lorenz at the Milwaukee School of Art, Frank Tenney Johnson headed to New York where he entered the Art Students League and began his studies under such well known artists as John Henry Twachtman and William Merritt Chase.

Early in this period Frank Tenney Johnson was hired as an illustrator for magazines, primarily Field and Stream, but additionally he did work for Harper's and Cosmopolitan as well. Though F. Tenney Johnson resided in New York he would make frequent trips to California and the west to gather materials for his illustrations, including time on a ranch in Colorado and later to the desert southwest where he first encountered Native Americans.

Painting by Frank Tenney Johnson titled: Texas Cowboys.

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In 1920 Frank Tenney Johnson moved to Alhambra, California, and began to focus more time and attention on his easel paintings rather than his illustration work. Johnson and his painting partner Clyde Forsythe founded the Biltmore Art Gallery at this time as well.

From 1931 to the end of his life Frank Tenney Johnson (also known as F. Tenney Johnson) spent most of his time at the studio he built in Cody, Wyoming. He would spend his time doing studies and sketches in Yellowstone National Park and then the rest of his time at his easel. His love of the American West never faded, and he died at the pinnacle of his career in 1939 from spinal meningitis. His paintings are found in numerous museums throughout the world, and today his work still brings incredibly high prices at auction.


Frank Tenney Johnson Gallery of Art - Visit the Frank Tenney Johnson Gallery of Art website.


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Allied Art Association
American Watercolor Society
California Art Club (President, 1935-1938), Pasadena, California
Foundation of Western Artists
Highland Park Society of Artists
Laguna Beach Art Association, Laguna Beach, California
National Academy
National Arts Club
Painters of the West
Salmagundi Club
San Gabriel Art League


Early Fine Art Dealers specializes in valuing and purchasing important paintings from the 17th century through the early 20th century. Our buyers are in constant search for fine works of art and paintings, spanning the globe for original well-known Old Master, European, American, and early California art. Each year we preview and participate in hundreds of private sales, art shows, gallery showings, exhibitions and auctions. We are in constant search for fine works to purchase. Please contact us today to discuss the sale of one of your paintings. Please note that our gallery only deals with original paintings. No Prints Please.

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