Frederic Johnston Biography

View Art by Frederic Johnston

Frederic Johnston (1890 - 1952) A native of Chicago, Johnston lived in Riverside, California from 1924 until 1952. He was an engineer-architect by profession, served as assistant engineer at Maarch Air Base during World War II and then was superintendent of construction at the University of California, Riverside, until his illness forced his retirement in 1948. He began painting in the early 30's and later taught art classes at night school in Riverside City College and San Bernardino Valley College as well as conducting a large private class. He studied with George Brandiff, Phil Dyke and Millard Sheets. All three instructors were high in praise of his natural approach, his excellent sense of design and colors. They predicted for him a brilliant future. 

Frederic was accepted in the California Water Color Society and exhibited widely throughout the country with that organization. He was also a member of the Laguna Art Association, The San Diego Fine Arts Guild, The Riverside Fine Arts Guild, and the Riverside Art Association. His paintings were accepted for shows at the Orange Show, San Francisco, Oakland, Arizona State Fair, The Date Festival, Los Angeles County Fair at Pomona and others. One of his paintings, "Chino Hills" was exhibited in the World's Fair on Treasure Island and was one of three from that show to be reproduced in the "Los Angeles Times" with an excellent review by Arthur Millier the well known art critic. 

Frederic is represented in many private collections. The former Security Pacific National Bank purchased four of his works for the Trust Department. During the early year of the Riverside Opera Association, when it was directed by Marcella Craft, Johnston designed, and with the help of a good crew, executed all the stage sets for several years. A limited budget made the job a challenge and many of the sets were painted on wrapping paper. He was receiving wide recognition for his paintings when in 1948 he was stricken and remained in very poor health until his death in 1952.

California Watercolor