John C. Johansen
American, born Denmark
(Copenhagen, Denmark, 1876 - 1964, New York City)
Johansen immigrated to the United States as a child and was raised in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1891 to 1897 and was taught for part of that time by realist painter Frank Duveneck. Johansen travelled to Paris to study at the Académie Julian in 1898 and while he was there, also took lessons from James Abbott McNeil Whistler at Whistler’s Carmen Academy. Johansen returned to Chicago to teach from 1901 to 1906, before going on to Venice to paint the city’s golden light and romantic architecture for two years. Johansen’s dreamy Italian scenes demonstrate influences ranging from Whistler to impressionism and luminism. When he returned to the United States, Johansen established a studio in New York City, achieving success as a portrait painter, although he continued to paint landscapes and genre scenes.
Johansen exhibited widely during his lifetime, participating in the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and the Panama-Pacific Exhibition of 1915. He received many awards and a number of prestigious commissions from the United States government, including portrait commissions for presidents Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and a posthumous portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Johansen was also invited to attend the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 in order to document the proceedings for posterity. The resulting painting is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, as are six other works by Johansen.