Reading Boy, 1863 signed and dated 'E. Johnson/63' (lower right) oil on board 10 1/4 x 9in
Provenance: With Mr. George Nixon Black to 1928 Bequeathed to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1929 (received 1951); deaccessioned 1957 Wildenstein + Co., New York, New York Private Collection, Beverly Hills, California
Note: In a letter dated October 6, 2008, Patricia Hills confirms the authenticity of this work and makes the following observations: "The painting is beautifully painted with all the characteristics I associate with Johnson. It is a private moment for the young blond boy depicted. He kneels on a small, upholstered bench and is absorbed in reading his book. His eyes look down (Johnson's subjects often avert the eyes of the viewer) and his features are delicately wrought. The details of the small bench are exquisite, with the brass tacks, green fringe, and pale blue on the legs of the bench all rendered with great finesse. The application of paint is characteristic, with thin passages of paint in the background and greater applications on other areas. In the background is a table covered with a red cloth and a patterned rug rests on the floor. A painting hangs on the wall behind at the left appears to be a door frame. Johnson was a master of depicting figures emerging from the dim light of a Victorian interior."