David Claypool Johnston
Richard Fenton Outcault
John T. McCutcheon
Clarence Daniel Batchelor
Franklin Osborne Alexander
Roy Braxton Justus
Arthur B. Poinier
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the Syracuse Record
David Claypool Johnston (1798-1865)
David Claypool Johnston "was the first American comic artist
to have a sustained and popular career," as David Tatham, a
Syracuse University professor of American art, commented in "A
Note about David Claypool Johnston" published in the Syracuse
University Library Associates Courier (spring 1970). Tatham
further observed that "From about 1825 to 1850, D. C. Johnston
was the outstanding comic artist of New England in painting and
in the graphic arts. He was the first natively trained American
to master with distinction all the various graphic arts processes
of lithography, etching, metal plate engraving, and wood engraving."
Tatham has generously donated several original examples of Johnston's
work to Syracuse University Library.
number one (new series) for 1849, "Sketched, Etched, and Published
by D. C. Johnston." The British caricaturist George Cruikshank's
Scraps and Sketches was published in 1827. We know that Johnston
studied this work, and his own series entitled Scraps is perhaps
his homage to this source. "Some of the richest and most complex
of his conceptions were inspired by the literature for which he
had no commissions....The best of these pictorial comments on literature
appeared as etched vignettes in Scraps, Johnston's comic
annual, of which nine numbers were published between 1828 and 1849"
(Malcolm Johnson, David Claypool Johnston: American Graphic Humorist,
Lesson in Portrait Painting. This cartoon by Johnston wryly
suggests that a pumpkin can serve as an adequate model for teaching
students the art of portraiture. Johnston was responsible for creating
two of the earliest commercial art school programs in America.
Schoolmaster. A Very Popular Glee (Boston, 1839) with the lithographic
cover drawn by Johnston, a printed piece that was donated to the
Special Collections Research Center by Professor David Tatham. Malcolm
Johnson maintained in his publication entitled David Claypool
Johnston: American Graphic Humorist, 1798-1865 (Lunenburg, Vermont:
Stinehour Press, 1970) that "Johnston was responsible for the
first dated sheet music cover with a lithographic illustration in
this country, 'The Log House,' published March 14, 1826."
Martin Van Buren. The inscriptions of "A beautiful goblet
of White-House champagne" and "An ugly mug of log-cabin
hard cider" applied to this stipple engraving and etching convey
the transformation that resulted from William Henry Harrison's successful
1840 "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" presidential campaign
against Martin Van Buren, who was depicted as a dandy in the contest.
Jeff Davis after the Fall of Fort Sumter 1861. Jeff Davis after
the Surrender of Fort Sumter 1863. The change in the expression
of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis reflects the shifting fortunes
of the Civil War between 1861 and 1863.
Pioneer: A Literary and Critical Magazine, a short-lived publication
edited by James Russell Lowell and produced between January and
March of 1843. D. C. Johnston etched a rare contemporary caricature
of Charles Dickens for its March 1843 number. It depicts the "Artist
in Boots," which refers to a chapter in American Notes by Dickens.
Besides Lowell's own contributions to this journal, it has the distinction
of carrying some of the first published work of Nathaniel Hawthorne,
Edgar Allen Poe, and John Greenleaf Whittier.