Blind Musician

  • William H. Johnson, Blind Musician, ca. 1940, oil on plywood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.670

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William H. Johnson’s paintings of African Americans were often based on scenes he remembered from his life in South Carolina and later in Harlem. Johnson may have based Blind Musician on such singers as Blind Boy Fuller, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, or the Reverend Gary Davis (Powell, Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson, 1991). These performers attracted notice in the South and made their way to Chicago and New York City, where their recordings helped make the blues tradition familiar to mainstream audiences. The background of crosshatched lines signals that these itinerant musicians belong in no particular place, and must make their way with only their voices, guitar, and tambourine.

Title
Blind Musician
Artist
Date
ca. 1940
On View
Dimensions
36 3/8 x 28 1/4 in. (92.2 x 71.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the Harmon Foundation

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on plywood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure group
  • Performing arts – music – guitar
  • Ethnic – African-American
Object Number
1967.59.670
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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