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William H. Johnson

Lunchtime Rest
about 1940
tempera and pen and ink
13 3/8 x 18 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation

The brilliant colors and bold stripes recall the multi-stripe designs of West African textiles and the African American tradition of freehand quilt-work. Johnson based his pictures on memories of the South he had not visited for many years. He captured the quiet dignity of rural workers' mundane activities without romanticizing it.