Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2003.304
People
Lester Johnson, American (Minneapolis, Minn. 1919-2010 Westhampton, New York)
Title
Vincent Series #4
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
2001
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States
Culture
American
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/70196
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
111.8 x 152.4 cm (44 x 60 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r. Lester Johnson (script)
Provenance
Lillian Heidenberg, New York, Gift from the artist.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Lillian Heidenberg
Accession Year
2003
Object Number
2003.304
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Landscape-format painting depicting a group of striding figures, the principal one distinguished by a Yankees baseball cap and a Van Gogh t-shirt.
Commentary
For more than 50 years Lester Johnson has been an important presence in American painting, both as a teacher (at Yale, 1964-91) and as a primary exponent of figurative expressionism (showing at Zabriskie Gallery from 1955-61 and at Martha Jackson Gallery from 1962-75). Known in the 1950s and 60s for dark, thickly painted figures of hatted men alone or in strict rows, he embraced a brighter palette and happier subjects in 1972, turning to groups of young men and women moving and dancing through generalized urban spaces, a mode he has maintained to the present. Johnson has always been a maverick, refusing first the abstraction of Abstract Expressionism and then the appropriations of Pop Art, steadfast in his commitment to the high-modern project of an autonomous, non-illustrative painting of modern life.

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu