Jitterbugs (II)

Media - 1967.59.611 - SAAM-1967.59.611_1 - 81334
Copied William H. Johnson, Jitterbugs (II), ca. 1941, oil on paperboard, 2415 38 in. (61.039.1 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.611

Artwork Details

Jitterbugs (II)
ca. 1941
Not on view
2415 38 in. (61.039.1 cm.)
lower right in black paint: W.H. Johnson back upper center in oil: - JiTTerbugs/W.H. Johnson back upper left in chalk: 2 back lower center in grease crayon: W.H. JOHNSON back lower right in felt-tipped pen and ink: #611/NCFA cat. back upper left in pencil: 150-
Credit Line
Gift of the Harmon Foundation
Mediums Description
oil on paperboard
  • Group
  • Figure group
  • African American
  • Recreation — dancing
  • Object — musical instrument — trumpet
Object Number

Artwork Description

William H. Johnson created four paintings of the jitterbug, a dance craze that came out of Harlem and made its way into America's "swing" culture just before the Second World War. Here, the woman dips dramatically into the arms of her partner so that the two figures become one shape of contrasting colors and patterns. Sharp angles and spiraling patterns on the floor and walls emphasize the fast, athletic pace of skilled dance partners.