Frank Tenney Johnson (1874-1939)
Moonlit Canyon (1931)
oil on canvas
36 × 28 inches
signed and dated lower left
Sold at Auction: $351,000
Condition ReportFour small areas of inpainting in lower half of painting, inpainting along right side stretcher bar, relined, surface condition excellent.
Important Notice: Statements of condition are provided as a service to potential bidders; such statements are educated opinions and should not be regarded as facts. The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction has no responsibility for any errors or omissions.
Fred Hogue wrote in the March 24, 1928 issue of the Los Angeles times, “... Canvases like those produced by Frank Tenney Johnson are expressions that accurately record impressions. They are not produced in studios alone.... The moonlight is the moonlight of Navajo Land ... and it is because he knows these things and reproduces them so well on his canvases that he towers above his contemporaries.... His canvases sign the legends of the range riders and of the Navajos.
“Russell knew the riders of the Northwest, but Russell is dead. Remington knew the cowboy and his mount and the whole story of the Old West; but Remington is dead. When Johnson is gone, the last of this triology of the trail and the range will have passed. As a painter of nocturnes, Frank Tenney Johnson is the peer of any artist that ever came out of the West. Russell and Remington could paint the sunlight, but when the twilight shadows began to fall they cleansed their brushes, assembled their canvases and withdrew.... Perhaps Frank Tenney Johnson is a poet who sings in color. There is a harmony in his canvases that escapes our five senses.... His best is equal to the best in any company. He possesses the secret of color, of light and shade, of technique and composition. Perhaps, when he is dead, other lovers of the beautiful will write of him and his art what I have here written.”