WILLIAM H. JOHNSON BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION SATURDAY, MARCH 18 AT FCM
Join the Florence County Museum as we celebrate the life of Florence native artist, William Henry Johnson (1901 – 1970). The public is invited to attend a lecture at 2 pm that will highlight the life and work of Johnson, after which birthday cake will be served in the museum courtyard.
Johnson, although well known among historians of 20th century African-American art, has remained an obscure figure in art history. At the age of 17 he left Florence for New York to enroll in the National Academy of Design. By the late 1920s Johnson was living in Europe, creating and exhibiting art that reflected the artistic styles and atmospheres of the world around him. Fearing the imminent onset of World War II, Johnson returned to the United States in 1938. Over the course of the next decade, his artistic voice developed into the modernist abstract style he is recognized for today. Both vibrant and somber, these paintings depict the African-American experience from both a historical and personal perspective.
The Florence County Museum is committed to preserving the legacy of William H. Johnson’s life and work through collections, exhibitions, research and educational programs. Our permanent collection currently includes eight works by Johnson: three works on paper and five oil paintings, each representing distinct periods of the artist’s development. Two works by Johnson are currently on view in the museum’s Focus Gallery as part of the exhibit Arriving South.