David Johnson was mainly self-taught, but studied with Jasper Cropsey in 1850. In 1851 he was in New Hampshire painting, and he returned many times. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and the Artists Fund Society. He exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Association, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the National Academy of Design. He won medals at the Centennial Expo in Philadephia in 1876 and the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association in Boston in 1878. Based in NYC, he made numerous sketching trips throughout New England but never visited Europe. He was one of the last survivors of the Hudson River School of landscape painters.
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