Dr. George Washington Carver

  • William H. Johnson, Dr. George Washington Carver, ca. 1945, oil on cardboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.1142

George Washington Carver fostered agricultural research at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute for more than forty years, finding new uses for the crops that were familiar to Southern black farmers. William H. Johnson framed the central figure of Carver with images of his laboratory equipment and of peanuts, cotton, sweet potatoes and other foods. To the right, Franklin Delano Roosevelt welcomes Carver to his advisory position with the Department of Agriculture in the 1940s. By 1945, the artist had created many images of heroic black figures, and had grown increasingly assertive about the artistic value of his own work. In this image, the palette ringed with brilliant colors recalls Carver’s success in extracting blue, purple, and red pigments from clay, but it also claims a bit of Carver’s territory for Johnson’s accomplishments as an African American artist.

Dr. George Washington Carver
ca. 1945
Not on view
35 1228 12 in. (90.272.4 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the Harmon Foundation

Mediums Description
oil on cardboard
  • Occupation – science – botanist
  • Portrait male – Carver, George Washington
  • Ethnic – African-American
  • Portrait male – Roosevelt, Franklin Delano
  • History – United States – Black History
  • Figure group – male
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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