Art/ Collection/ Art Object

[Painting Class in a School Room]

Frances Benjamin Johnston (American, 1864–1952)
Cyanotype from glass negative
18.4 x 23.5 cm. (7 1/4 x 9 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1988
Accession Number:
Not on view
Born in West Virginia, Johnston studied drawing and painting at the Académie Julien in Paris before returning to America to take up photography. She excelled in architectural documentation, portraiture, and especially school scenes. This photograph, commissioned by the school system of Washington, D.C. school system, reveals her exceptional talent for orchestrating a classroom to articulate the values of measure, order, and incipient grace that a classical artist or schoolmarm might impose. The picture is blue because it was printed using a variation of the blueprint process that architects employed until recently to duplicate their line drawings.
Inscription: Inscribed in ink on print, recto LR: "302";
Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 29," May 21, 2001–September 23, 2001.

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