LOT 290

Frank Tenney Johnson


Moonrise Over Trail

MEDIUM: Oil on board

DIMENSIONS: 14 x 11 inches

Signed and dated 1934 lower left

Titled verso


SOLD FOR: $70,200.00

Including Buyers Premium

Additional Information

Edward Oakley Estate, Hacienda de Los Cerros, Santa Fe, NM, ca. late 1930s-1940s
Property of a gentleman, Sonoita, AZ

Master of the Western nocturne, Frank Tenney Johnson was also fond of the sub-category of moonrises, a subject that he sporadically painted dozens of times across his distinguished career. With works such as Moonrise Over the Mesa, Apaches at Moonrise, Coyote Moonrise and here in Moonrise Over the Trail, Johnson paints the arrival of the moon against the horizon as a spiritual moment for both man and beast. This tracks with his own history among Native American people, who almost universally view the moon as a sacred symbol in the sky. During a radio broadcast in 1925 at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a fan of his work told him, “[Y]our moonlights seem to me to possess the impalpable elusive mystery that moonlight has.” Years later, Johnson partially explained his fascination: “I like to think of moonlight as nature’s indirect lighting,” he told the Christian Science Monitor in 1931. “In the far West, where the air is clear, you can see all the essential structure of the rocks by moonlight, and a good deal of color detail in the foreground.”


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Please note that the first unframed photo is most accurate for color. Framed photographs are to show the frame and are not color corrected to the painting.

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