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Mom and Dad

Object Details

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Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
Department
Painting and Sculpture
Date
1944
Object number
1967.59.1012
Luce Center Label
In Mom and Dad the light background emphasizes “Mom Alice’s” dark coloring and direct gaze and may also signal a family history that William H. Johnson hinted at in other details. The calico cat nursing a kitten and the portrait of Henry Johnson as a light-skinned man likely refer to William’s mixed racial heritage (Powell, Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson, 1991). Johnson changed his painting style in the late 1930s and began creating self-consciously “primitive” scenes of African American life. When he returned home to Florence, South Carolina, in 1944, this professional change took on a personal dimension as he attempted to reconnect with his family.
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation
Artist
William H. Johnson, born Florence, SC 1901-died Central Islip, NY 1970
Sitter
Alice Johnson
Henry Johnson
Topic
Animal\cat
African American
Object\art object\painting
Object\furniture\chair
Portrait female\full length
Portrait male\bust
Medium
oil on paperboard
Dimensions
31 x 25 3/8 in. (78.7 x 64.5 cm.)
Data Source
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Type
Painting
GUID
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/vk73daafd5d-81ec-41c3-9fbc-3e809f8fec2f
Record ID
saam_1967.59.1012

Mom and Dad

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