Mom and Dad

  • William H. Johnson, Mom and Dad, 1944, oil on paperboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation, 1967.59.1012

Luce Center Label

In Mom and Dad the light background emphasizes “Mom Alice’s” dark coloring and direct gaze and may also signal a family history that William H. Johnson hinted at in other details. The calico cat nursing a kitten and the portrait of Henry Johnson as a light-skinned man likely refer to William’s mixed racial heritage (Powell, Homecoming: The Art and Life of William H. Johnson, 1991). Johnson changed his painting style in the late 1930s and began creating self-consciously “primitive” scenes of African American life. When he returned home to Florence, South Carolina, in 1944, this professional change took on a personal dimension as he attempted to reconnect with his family.

Title
Mom and Dad
Artist
Date
1944
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
31 x 25 3/8 in. (78.7 x 64.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of the Harmon Foundation

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on paperboard
Classifications
Keywords
  • Object – furniture – chair
  • Object – art object – painting
  • Animal – cat
  • Ethnic – African-American
Object Number
1967.59.1012
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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