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Portrait of Edward Aisquith

Joshua Johnson, American (active Baltimore), born c. 1762

Made in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, North and Central America

c. 1810

Oil on canvas

22 1/2 × 18 3/8 inches (57.2 × 46.7 cm) Frame: 25 3/4 × 21 1/2 × 2 inches (65.4 × 54.6 × 5.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by Dr. Benjamin F. Hammond, the Edith H. Bell Fund, and with funds contributed in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art, 2001

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The earliest documented professional African American artist, Joshua Johnson (whose last name sometimes appears as Johnston) worked as a portrait painter in Baltimore, where he produced more than eighty known works between 1795 and 1825. He may have begun life as a slave, but Johnson was certainly a free man by 1795, when he advertised himself as a self-taught "genius" in the Baltimore Intelligencer. This is the first work by the artist to enter the Museum's collection.