30 of 62

William H. Johnson
Cafe
about 1939–40
oil
36 1/2 x 28 3/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation



Johnson used modernist devices of flat space, colorful form, and black outlines in a humorous portrayal of a couple in a Harlem cafe. Below the table, human and wooden legs are tangled together, while above, the smartly dressed woman holds tightly to her date, who looks away in resignation.