1929 William H. Johnson Born: Florence, South Carolina 1901 Died: Central Islip, New York 1970 oil on canvas 23 1/4 x 18 1/4 in. (59.0 x 46.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Harmon Foundation 1967.59.762 Not currently on view
Luce Center Label
The exaggerated features and thickly painted background in this self-portrait reflect William H. Johnson's admiration for European expressionist painters. When he first showed these works in the United States, one critic complained that Johnson was too influenced by foreign styles, while another argued that "a man is an artist first and an American afterwards" (Powell, Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson, 1991). Self-Portrait reveals that Johnson's first trip to Europe had shaped not only his style but his self-image, and had set him on a path toward the "primitive" and "spiritual" truth that he felt all good art must possess.
Ethnic - African-American
Occupation - art - painter
Occupation - art - printmaker
Portrait male - Johnson, William H. - bust
Portrait male - Johnson, William H. - self-portrait
paint - oil
fabric - canvas
About William H. Johnson
Born: Florence, South Carolina 1901 Died: Central Islip, New York 1970
More works in the collection by
William H. Johnson
Blogs, Podcasts, and More
- Eye Level: The Initiative
- Eye Level: Walk on Water, Please!
- Eye Level: Art Conservation: A Look Inside Pio Casimiro ...
- Eye Level: Roz Chast on Charles Addams: Laughter, Tears ...
- Eye Level: American Pictures: Jules Feiffer on Fred Astaire
- Eye Level: No Mojitos
- Eye Level: Multiplicity: Five Questions with Joann Moser
- Eye Level: Charles Willson Peale: The Man in Front of the ...
- Eye Level: Reflections on the Work of Richard Estes
- Eye Level: On Stage with the Renwick's Staged Stories