Professor Lee Johnson, (1924-2006) a pupil of Anthony Blunt at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and close friend of the Oxford Professor of History of Art, Francis Haskell (1928-2000), was the world's leading authority on the French nineteenth-century painter Eugène Delacroix. He was celebrated for his catalogue raisonné of Delacroix, and on his death in 2006, left his Archive to the Department of History of Art in Oxford.
Johnson's catalogue superseded Alfred Robaut's one of 1885, and the summary catalogue produced by Luigi Bortolatto in 1972. It comprised of six large books, with four supplements. It was highly acclaimed on its publication between 1981-1988, winning the Mitchell Prize for the History of Art and it is still the starting point for those scholars and art professionals interested in the works of Eugène Delacroix.
The Archive, which has been indexed and reboxed to archival standard, comprises of 107 boxes and includes detailed research notes, correspondence and images relating to the provenance of Delacroix's paintings, the compilation of the catalogue, Johnson's articles and publications and subsequent enquiries on works thought to be by Delacroix. It also contains his research notes and correspondence in relation to the selection of works and the catalogue entries for commemorative centenary exhibitions in Toronto and Ottawa between December 1962 and February 1963 and at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh and Royal Academy, London; which with its 201 works, remains the largest exhibition on Delacroix ever organised in Great Britain. It is therefore valuable both as an insight to the working methods and practice of a leading art historian, and as an active resource for those scholars and art professionals who are interested in the detailed and meticulous research that he undertook in preparation for his catalogue entries, and the subsequent notes and correspondence with owners and collectors surrounding the discovery, ownership and attribution of Delacroix's paintings.
The Department of History of Art maintains close connections with the Musée Delacroix and the Musée du Louvre who recognise the value and importance of Professor Johnson's research and scholarship on Delacroix, and who regard the Archive as a valuable resource for scholars and professionals.
Lee Johnson in the Dictionary of Art Historians.