Chicago Interior

  • J. Theodore Johnson, Chicago Interior, 1933-1934, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor, 1964.1.82

Exhibition Label
The warmth from the radiator is almost palpable in this painting, contrasting with the snowy city seen through the window. The distinctive blue-tiled tower of the American Furniture Mart identifies the setting as Chicago, where artist J. Theodore Johnson and his wife, Barbara Salmon Johnson, came to attend an exhibition of the artist's work shortly after they had wed in New York in December 1931. The artist lovingly portrayed his beautiful young wife reading in their hotel room. The warm browns, yellows, and oranges raise the visual temperature, heightened further by hot touches of red in the drapery and in Mrs. Johnson's lips, cheeks, magazine, and chair. A heavy fur coat laid to dry by the radiator shows that Mrs. Johnson has recently come in to escape the frigid winds from Lake Michigan. Her husband was one of many artists who participated both in the Public Works of Art Project and in later Federal Art Projects. In 1937 and 1939 Johnson returned to Chicago to fulfill commissions from the Treasury Section of Fine Arts for historical murals in the Morgan Park and Oak Park Post Offices.

1934: A New Deal for Artists exhibition label

Chicago Interior
On View
Not on view.
28 x 34 in. (71.2 x 86.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the U.S. Department of Labor

Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • New Deal – Public Works of Art Project – Illinois
  • Architecture Interior – domestic – bedroom
  • Portrait female – Johnson, Barbara Salmon – full length
  • Recreation – leisure – reading
  • Cityscape – Illinois – Chicago
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More Artworks from the Collection

ca. 1910
oil on canvas
after 1924
oil on canvas mounted on panel