William H. Johnson’s World on Paper

June 30, 2006 — January 7, 2007

Smithsonian American Art Museum (8th and G Streets, NW)
Media - 1971.126 - SAAM-1971.126_1 - 55624
William H. Johnson, Blind Singer, ca. 1939-1940, screenprint on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum holds the largest and most complete collection of work by the African American modernist William H. Johnson (1901–1970) and has done much in the past 30 years to preserve his art and establish his reputation. "William H. Johnson's World on Paper" thoroughly examines, for the first time, the artist's involvement with printmaking. Now, these never-before-exhibited prints by the artist reveal him to be as powerful with graphic media as with oils and tempera. Johnson's distinctive work uses bold compositions and bright colors, and his woodcuts are strongly influenced by German Expressionist art. Joann Moser, the museum's senior curator for graphic arts, selected more than 40 prints from the permanent collection for this special exhibition. An expanded version of the exhibition traveled to three venues in 2007.


"William H. Johnson's World on Paper" is organized and circulated by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition tour is supported in part by the C. F. Foundation, Atlanta.