Johanna Cahill Murphy was born on Cape Ann in Massachusetts and grew up in Gloucester in the home built by T. S. Eliotís father, where T. S. Eliot and his family spent their summers.
Johanna took art lessons as a child from marine painters and went to Boston University, where she graduated with her BFA from the School of Fine and Applied Arts, majoring in Painting. Johanna moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1967, where she resided with her family until her death on December 5, 2001.
Johanna taught painting, drawing, and sculpture for 30 years. She served as Gallery Director of Artworks Gallery, Hartford, and was the Art Administrator and Instructor at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford. She retired as Director of the American Red Cross, Capitol Branch, Hartford, to devote her efforts to painting full time. September 11, 1998, the day of her retirement from the Red Cross, was proclaimed "Johanna Murphy Day" in the city of Hartford by Mayor Michael Peters.
Johanna has had numerous exhibits in the Hartford region, including "Stations of the Cross According to a Woman" (1992), "Fire and Ice" (1997), and, most recently, "Down to the Sea in Ships" (1999), held at ArtSpace Gallery in Hartford in May.
Johanna's works are in the care of her husband, Attorney John F. Murphy, also an artist.