Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Joshua Johnson, American (probably Baltimore, MD c. 1763, active 1796-1824 probably Baltimore, MD)
Portrait of a Girl
Other Titles
Former Title: Unidentified Lady
Work Type
c. 1810-1815
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2220, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Rococo and Neoclassicism in the Eighteenth Century
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
61 × 50.1 cm (24 × 19 3/4 in.)
framed: 73 × 62.2 × 3.8 cm (28 3/4 × 24 1/2 × 1 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • label: A paper label on the wooden backing of the frame reads: "FROM/FITZGERALD'S/Emporium of Fine Arts/No. 5 (5?) N. GAY STREET/ BALTIMORE."
Bertha Slattery Lieberman, Baltimore, MD; to her son William S. Lieberman, New York, NY; to Washburn Gallery, New York, NY, 1987-2005; Estate of William S. Lieberman, 2005-2007; his bequest to the Fogg Museum, 2007.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of William S. Lieberman
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Joshua Johnson is the first documented African-American painter to work in the United States. He was a professional portrait painter who lived in Baltimore, Maryland. His birth and death dates, as well as place of birth and death, are unknown.
Publication History

Carolyn J. Weekley, Stiles Tuttle Colwill, Leroy Graham, and Mary Ellen Hayward, Joshua Johnson: Freeman and Early American Portrait Painter, exh. cat., Maryland Historical Society (Baltimore, MD, 1987), p. 150, cat. 63, ill.

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), p. 310, cat. 269, ill.

Exhibition History

Joshua Johnson: Freeman and Early American Portrait Painter, Maryland Historical Society, 09/26/1987 - 01/03/1988; Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Collection, 01/17/1988 - 05/15/1988; Whitney Museum of American Art, 06/18/1988 - 08/25/1988; Whitney Museum of American Art, Stamford, CT Branch, 09/09/1988 - 11/09/1988

32Q: 2220 18th-19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Collection Highlights

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