William Johnson

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by JessyLee59
Last updated 7 years ago

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William Johnson

Born March 18, 1901, in Florence, South Carolina, William Henry Johnson was an African American who became a painter.At the age of 17, he moved to New York City.He became a student at the National Academy of Design in New York. He worked with the painter Charles Hawthorne, who raised funds that allowed Johnson to go abroad to study.He spent the late 1920s in France, where he learned about modernism.When he returned to the US in 1929, Johnson was encouraged by artist-friend, George Luks to enter his work for recognition into the Harmon Foundation Distinguished Achievements Among Negroes in the Fine Arts Field.He was awarded the Harmon gold medal in January of 1930.Later that same year, he returned to Europe and married Holcha Krake, a Danish textile artist whom he'd met during his time in France.Johnson and his wife spent most of the 1930s in Scandinavia, where his interest in folk art influenced his painting. They then returned to the US in 1938, where Johnson immersed himself in African-American culture and traditions, producing paintings that were characterized by their folk art simplicity.During the 1940s and 1950s, he enjoyed a degree of success as an artist, but was never able to achieve financial stability.In 1944, his wife Holcha died from breast Cancer. To deal with his grief, he took work in a Navy Yard, and in 1946 left for Denmark to be with his wife's family.He soon fell ill himself, from the effects of advanced syphilis, and returned to New York in 1947 to enter the central Islip State Hospital on Long Island, where he spent the last 23 years of his life.In 1956, he stopped painting.On January 1, 1970, he died.

Fun Fact

1901- Born1918- Moved to NY1920s- Went to France and met future wife1929- Went back to the US1930- Awarded the Harmon gold medal1930- Returned to Europe to marry his wife1944- Wife died1970- Died

In 2012, the US Postal Service issued a stamp in Johnson's honor, recognizing him a one of the nation's foremost African-American artists and a major figure in 20th-century American art. The stamp, the 11th in the American Treasures series, showcases his painting Flowers (1939-1940), which depicts brightly colored blooms on a small red table.


-Going to Church-I Baptize Thee


Source List-http://wwar.com/masters/j/johnson-william_.html-http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/23/AR2006062300307.html

William Johnson





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