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William H. Johnson papers

Creator:
Johnson, William H., 1901-1970  Search this
Names:
Alma Reed Galleries  Search this
Barnett-Aden Gallery  Search this
Harmon Foundation  Search this
Aden, Alonzo J., 1906-1963  Search this
Halpert, Edith Gregor, 1900-1970  Search this
Hawthorne, Charles Webster, 1872-1930  Search this
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967  Search this
Johnson, Holcha Krake, 1885-1943  Search this
Nierendorf, Karl  Search this
Extent:
1.5 Linear feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Date:
1922-1972
bulk 1926-1956
Summary:
The papers of African American painter William H. Johnson date from 1922 to 1971, with the bulk of the material dating from 1926 to 1956, and measure 1.5 linear feet. The collection documents Johnson's career as an artist in New York and in Europe and his marriage to textile artist Holcha Krake through scattered biographical material, including eight letters regarding the sale and exhibition of his work - one from Langston Hughes and two are from Alonzo Aden of the Barnett Aden Gallery. Also found are exhibition catalogs, news clippings, other printed material, and photographs of Johnson, Krake, and their artwork. One scrapbook contains news clippings, letters, and additional photographs. Another scrapbook contains travel postcards. Also found are a few scattered records and research notes compiled by the Harmon Foundation regarding William H. Johnson.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of African American painter William H. Johnson date from 1922 to 1971, with the bulk of the material dating from 1926 to 1956, and measure 1.5 linear feet. The collection documents Johnson's career as an artist in New York and in Europe and his marriage to textile artist Holcha Krake through scattered biographical material, including eight letters regarding the sale and exhibition of his work. Also found are exhibition catalogs, news clippings, other printed material, and photographs of Johnson, Krake, and their artwork. One scrapbook contains news clippings, letters, and additional photographs. Another scrapbook contains travel postcards. Also found are a few scattered records and research notes compiled by the Harmon Foundation regarding William H. Johnson.

Scattered biographical material includes biographical sketches, a marriage certificate, award certificates from the National Academy of Design, lists of artwork, and the guestbook from Johnson's 1941 exhibition at the Alma Reed Gallery. Also found are eight letters regarding the sale and exhibition of his work, including a letter from Langston Hughes and two letters from Alonzo Aden of the Barnett Aden Gallery.

Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs, U.S. and foreign news clippings, and other materials, primarily published by the Harmon Foundation regarding African American art. Photographs are of Johnson, Johnson with Krake in their studio, Johnson with friends in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and of Johnson's artwork.

The collection includes two scrapbooks, one containing news clippings, exhibition materials, letters from Charles Hawthorne, Edith Halpert, Karl Nierendorf, and others, and photographs of Johnson and his artwork. Additional items from the scrapbook may have became detached at an earlier date and included among the material in other series. The second scrapbook contains Johnson's postcard collection from his travels in Europe.

Also found are scattered records and research material of the Harmon Foundation regarding William H. Johnson consisting of exhibition panels displaying original photographs of Johnson and his artwork, as well as translations and notes concerning the foreign news clippings found in the William H. Johnson papers.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 5 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1922-1967 (Box 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Printed Material, 1928-1971 (Box 1-3; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1923-1940s (Box 2-3; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1920s-1947 (Box 2-4; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 5: Harmon Foundation Research Materials Regarding William H. Johnson, 1950s (Box 2, OV 5; 0.2 linear feet)
Biographical Note:
William Henry Johnson (1901-1970) was born in Florence, South Carolina, in 1901. He moved to New York City in 1918, and from 1921 to 1926 he attended the National Academy of Design, studying with Charles Hawthorne, and attending Hawthorne's summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. As a student he won many awards for his paintings but failed to win a traveling scholarship to Europe. Hawthorne and others believed there may have been some prejudice in this decision and raised money for Johnson to study abroad. From 1926 to 1929 he lived in Paris and southern France. While in Paris he lived and worked in Whistler's old studio and met African American expatriate painter, Henry Ossawa Tanner. He lived briefly in Harlem, New York, in 1930 and exhibited in the Harmon Foundation's exhibition of work by African American artists in which he won the Gold Award for "Distinguished Achievement among Negroes".

In late 1930 Johnson moved to Kerteminde, Denmark, where he married textile artist Holcha Krake whom he had met in Paris. In 1933 they traveled to Germany, France, and Tunisia, which had a great impact on his work. From 1935 to 1938 they lived in various parts of Norway, and Johnson met artist Edvard Munch.

In 1938 Johnson and his wife moved back to New York City. The next year he briefly joined the WPA Federal Art Project as a painting teacher at the Harlem Community Art Center. Johnson had his first solo exhibition in New York at the Alma Reed Gallery in 1941. After Holcha Krake's death in 1944, Johnson began showing signs of mental illness. He lived briefly in Florence, South Carolina, and in 1946 returned to Denmark. He was hospitalized in Norway in 1947 and was then transferred to the Central Islip State Hospital in New York where he spent the next 23 years, until his death in 1970.

In 1956 the Harmon Foundation acquired over a thousand of Johnson's works that were still among his estate. The foundation ceased operations in 1967.
Provenance:
The William H. Johnson papers were originally donated to the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian American Art Museum) by the Harmon Foundation in 1982. The National Museum of American Art subsequently transferred them to the Archives of American Art in 1982 and 1986.
Restrictions:
The bulk of the collection is digitized. Use of material not digitized requires an appointment.
Rights:
The William H. Johnson papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
African American artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Citation:
William H. Johnson papers, 1922-1971, bulk 1926-1956. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.johnwill
See more items in:
William H. Johnson papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-johnwill
Additional Online Media:

Community Life Afro American Audiovisual Collection

Creator:
Community Life, Div. of, NMAH, SI  Search this
South Carolina Commission for the Arts  Search this
Publisher:
Negro History Associates  Search this
Names:
Bennett, Mary Jane  Search this
Moultrie, Alvina  Search this
Nelson, "Scrape"  Search this
Rowe, Nellie Mae, 1900-1982  Search this
Simmons, Philip, 1912-  Search this
Smith, Irene  Search this
Extent:
0.66 Cubic feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Audiotapes
Filmstrips
Interviews
Videotapes
Place:
South Carolina
Date:
1964-1976
Summary:
The history of the collection is unknown.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of one series that includes videotaped interviews with six southern African American folk artists (listed below), five filmstrips covering topics in African American history, and one audiotape. The videotaping project was funded by the South Carolina Commission for the Arts.

Interviewees Mary Jane Bennett, Low Country Basket Sewer Irene Brown Alvina Moultrie Scrape Nelson, Netmaker Nellie Mae Rowe, Folk Artist Phillip Simmons, Blacksmith
Biographical / Historical:
The history of the collection is unknown.
Provenance:
Transferred from the Division of Community Life in February 1986.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Reference copies, when available, must be used. Access to this collection is limited because of the condition of the existing reference copies and the format of the original videotapes. A digital reference copy for Phillip Simmons: Blacksmith can be found in the Smithsonian Instsitution's Digital Asset Management System (DAMS).
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
African American artists -- South Carolina  Search this
Artisans -- South Carolina  Search this
Blacksmithing -- South Carolina  Search this
Basket making -- South Carolina  Search this
Domestic relations -- South Carolina  Search this
Handicraft -- South Carolina  Search this
Folk art, Black -- South Carolina  Search this
Nets -- South Carolina  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiotapes
Filmstrips
Interviews -- 1970-1990
Videotapes -- 1970-1980
Citation:
Community Life Afro-American Audiovsual Collection, 1964-1976, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0201
See more items in:
Community Life Afro American Audiovisual Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0201

Legacy Keepers: Interview with Georgette Seabrooke Powell

Creator:
National Visionary Leadership Project  Search this
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Names:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum  Search this
Seabrooke, Georgette, 1916-2011  Search this
Collection Creator:
National Visionary Leadership Project  Search this
Extent:
1 video recording (VHS, 1/2")
Culture:
African American  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Video recordings
Video recordings
Oral histories (document genres)
Interviews
Place:
Charleston (S.C.)
New York (N.Y.)
Washington (D.C.)
United States
Date:
2003
Scope and Contents:
Through an oral history interview, artist Georgette Seabrooke Powell talks about her extended family, who owned businesses in Charleston, South Carolina, where she was born in 1916. Her family moved to New York City when Powell was six; she describes living in a tenement building, her time as a student at Washington Irving High School and later Cooper Union, and her experiences during the Harlem Renaissance. Powell talks about a few of her paintings, particularly her early work, and the WPA's Federal Art Project, including the mural "Recreation in Harlem." After moving to Washington, D.C., Powell becomes an art therapist and obtains a degree from Howard University. Powell also talks about Operation Heritage, Art in the Park, and P.S. 6. She describes her encounters with racism as a child and then later with her artwork; and explains her greatest accomplishment - raising her family.
Interview. Part of the National Visionary Leadership Project 2003. Dated 20030604.
Biographical / Historical:
Co-founded in 2001 by Camille O. Cosby, Ed.D. and Renee Poussaint, The National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP), a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, unites generations to create tomorrow's leaders by recording, preserving, and distributing through various media, the wisdom of extraordinary African American elders - Visionaries - who have shaped American history. National Visionary Leadership Project 2003 collection contains five videotaped oral history interviews conducted in partnership with the National Visionary Leadership Project and the Anacostia Community Museum's Education Department in 2003. Interviewees include Georgette Seabrooke Powell, William Langford, Louise Daniel Hutchinson, Jeannine Clark, and Charles Clark. Full transcripts of the interviews are available for reference in the archive.
General:
Title transcribed from cover page of the video recording's transcript.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at acmarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
African Americans  Search this
African American families  Search this
Artists  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Harlem Renaissance  Search this
Civic leaders  Search this
Racism  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Oral histories (document genres)
Interviews
Citation:
Legacy Keepers: Interview of Georgette Seabrooke Powell, National Visionary Leadership Project 2003, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
ACMA.09-005, Item ACMA AV000919
See more items in:
National Visionary Leadership Project 2003
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-acma-09-005-ref1

Against the odds : African-American artists and the Harmon Foundation / Gary A. Reynolds and Beryl J. Wright, with essays by David Driskell ... [et al.]

Author:
Reynolds, Gary A  Search this
Wright, Beryl J  Search this
Driskell, David C  Search this
Newark Museum  Search this
Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, S.C.)  Search this
Chicago Public Library Cultural Center  Search this
Subject:
Barthé, Richmond 1901-1989  Search this
Crite, Allan Rohan 1910-2007  Search this
Delaney, Beauford 1901-1979  Search this
Hardrick, John W (John Wesley) 1891-1968  Search this
Johnson, Malvin Gray 1896-1934  Search this
Johnson, William H. 1901-1970  Search this
Motley, Archibald John 1891-1981  Search this
Savage, Augusta 1892-1962  Search this
Scott, William E (William Edouard) 1884-1964  Search this
Woodruff, Hale 1900-1980  Search this
Harmon Foundation, inc Art patronage  Search this
Physical description:
298 p. : ill. ; 29 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1989
20th century
Topic:
African American art  Search this
Call number:
N6538.N5 R49 1989X
N6538.N5 R49 1989X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_386242

History Grabs the Headlines, But the Quiet Authority of the Art Gallery in the New Smithsonian Museum Speaks Volumes

Creator:
Smithsonian Magazine  Search this
Type:
Blog posts
Smithsonian staff publications
Blog posts
Published Date:
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:13:46 +0000
Topic:
Search this
See more post:
Smithsonian Article Database
Data Source:
Smithsonian Magazine
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:posts_8557195fde84054d77d839ded7032e26

Three Southern world's fairs : Cotton States and International Exposition, Atlanta, 1895; Tennessee Centennial, Nashville, 1897; South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, Charleston, 1901/2 : creating regional self-portraits through expositions / by Judy L. Larson

Title:
Creating regional self-portraits through expositions
Author:
Larson, Judy L  Search this
Subject:
Cotton States Exposition (1895 : Atlanta, Ga.)  Search this
Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition (1897 : Nashville, Tenn.)  Search this
South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition (1901-1902 : Charleston, S.C.)  Search this
Physical description:
548 leaves : ill., photographs ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Southern States
Date:
1998
19th century
To 1964
Topic:
Exhibitions--History  Search this
Art  Search this
Women--History  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African Americans--Exhibitions--History  Search this
African Americans--Social conditions  Search this
Urbanization--History  Search this
Call number:
T395.5.U6 L37 1998a
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_555580

Edwin A. Harleston : painter of an era, 1882-1931

Title:
Painter of an era, 1882-1931
Author:
Whitlock, Edwina Harleston  Search this
Shannon, Helen  Search this
Your Heritage House  Search this
Subject:
Harleston, Edwin Augustus 1882-1931 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
51 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
South Carolina
Charleston
Date:
1983
C1983
Topic:
Portrait painters--Exhibitions  Search this
African American artists--Biography  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.H273 Y6 1983
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_566660

Cultural reflections : 20 years of the visual arts tradition at South Carolina State University / edited by Frank Martin and compiled with the assistance of Terry K. Hunter and Leo F. Twiggs

Author:
Hunter, Terry K  Search this
Twiggs, Leo F  Search this
I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium  Search this
Physical description:
ii, 36 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
South Carolina
Orangeburg
Date:
1993
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American art  Search this
Art--Study and teaching (Higher)  Search this
Call number:
N6538.N5 C96 1993
N6538.N5C96 1993
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_451708

Our commonwealth; our collections : North Carolina Central University, Morgan State University, South Carolina State University, Spelman College, Winston-Salem State University

Author:
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
North Carolina Central University Art collections  Search this
Morgan State University Art collections  Search this
South Carolina State University Art collections  Search this
Spelman College Art Collections  Search this
Winston-Salem State University Art collections  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
1994
Topic:
African American art  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Call number:
NX164.N4 B5X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_494544

Carolina clay : the life and legend of the slave potter Dave / Leonard Todd

Author:
Todd, Leonard  Search this
Subject:
Dave active 1834-1864  Search this
Physical description:
317 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps ; 25 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
South Carolina
Edgefield
Edgefield (S.C.)
Date:
2008
C2008
19th century
Topic:
African American potters  Search this
Slaves  Search this
Potters  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American poets  Search this
African American pottery--History  Search this
Stoneware--History  Search this
Slavery--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_928110

Merton D. Simpson : the journey of an artist

Title:
Journey of an artist
Author:
Simpson, Merton D (Merton Daniel) 1928-  Search this
Mack, Angela D. 1952-  Search this
Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, S.C.)  Search this
Rudolph E. Lee Gallery  Search this
NationsBank Plaza  Search this
Subject:
Simpson, Merton D (Merton Daniel) 1928-  Search this
Physical description:
[20] p. : ill. (chiefly col.), port. ; 22 x 29 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Place:
South Carolina
Charleston
Date:
1995
C1995
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
Call number:
ND237.S555 A4 1995
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_953867

Mapping ports : Sullivan's Island, Goreʹe Island, Portableo, Havana and Seville : Arturo Lindsay : a retrospective exhibition / Arturo Lindsay ; [editors, Ellen Dressler Moryl and Katie Lee ; guest curator, Katie Lee]

Title:
Arturo Lindsay, a retrospective exhibition
Author:
Lindsay, Arturo  Search this
Moryl, Ellen Dressler  Search this
Lee, Katie  Search this
Charleston (S.C.) Office of Cultural Affairs  Search this
Subject:
Lindsay, Arturo  Search this
Physical description:
16 p. : col. ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
South Carolina
Charleston
Date:
2004
2004]
Topic:
African American art  Search this
African American artists  Search this
Call number:
N6587.L56 A4 2004
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_967156

Cotton

Artist:
Romare H. Bearden, American, b. Charlotte, North Carolina, 1912–1988  Search this
Medium:
Photomechanical reproductions, watercolor, gouache and pencil on paperboard
Dimensions:
11 1/8 x 14 in. (28.3 x 35.6 cm)
Type:
Collage
Date:
(1964)
Credit Line:
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966
Accession Number:
66.409
See more items in:
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Collection
School:
African-American Figuration
Data Source:
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:hmsg_66.409

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