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The active career of African-American artist William H. Johnson in the first half of the 20th century illustrates with great clarity that artists are products of their background, time, and place.   In this conversation, Ruth Greenstein, a docent at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), will explore how Johnson’s style evolved, in only two decades, from realism, to expressionism, and finally, to “neo-primitivism” (his term).  Ruth will ask participants to take a close look at one of his later works (not shown here) and then discuss the gradual development of his eventual highly personal style, as he moved from the Deep South, to New York, to Europe, and finally back to the New York of the Harlem Renaissance. Works mainly from SAAM and the Metropolitan Museum of Art will illustrate this development.

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