William H. Johnson (1901-1970)
Portrait , 1930
Oil on canvas
21 x 17 inches
Signed and dated top right : 1930/W.H. Johnson
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William Henry Johnson (1901-1970), a South Carolina native, was one of the foremost international modern artists of the twentieth century, and a leading figure of the latter Harlem Renaissance. He possessed a heroic, romantic personality, and consciously styled himself as a modern era throughout his artistic career, which spanned two decades, from 1927 to 1946. During this time, Johnson became recognized for his bold, subjective approach to landscape, portrait, still-life and figure painting. An expatriate in Europe from 1927-1938, he was influenced by the heightened, turbulent expressionism of artists such as Chaim Soutine, Oskar Kokoschka, and Edward Munch, whose work he sought in France and Germany, and in Denmark and Norway, where he primarily lived and worked.

 

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