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Samuel Johnson Woolf, American painter, lithographer and illustrator, was born in New York City and named after the English essayist Samuel Johnson. He studied with Kenyon Cox and George de Forest Brush at the Art Students' League and the National Academy of Design in New York. In the First World War he worked in Europe as a frontline artist-correspondent for Time magazine. In this capacity he painted portraits of General John C Pershing, commanding general of the US forces, and French general Joseph Joffre amongst others. Other subjects of portraits by Woolf include Franklin D Roosevelt, Josef Stalin, Crown Prince Frederick William of Germany, GK Chesterton and Edgar Allen Poe. His portrait of Mark Twain was acquired for the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut through the efforts of Mrs Stiles Burpee in 1947. Renowned for extracting confidences from his sitters as he worked, Woolf wrote several volumes of reminiscences including Drawn from Life (1932) and Hear I Am (1942).

Updated 2009