William Henry Johnson, Woman Ironing, 1944

William Henry Johnson (1901 – 1970) was an African-American artist born in South Carolina. He began his career as a student at the National Academy of Design in New York City, where he worked closely with Charles Webster Hawthorne. Johnson lived in Paris where he experienced French Expressionism and returned in the United States in the late 1920s. Johnson worked and lived in Scandanavia with his wife and experienced folk art. After returned in the United States in the late 1930s, Johnson found work at the Harlem Community Art Center in Harlem, New York City, New York where he worked as an art teacher as part of the Federal Art Project and Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1956, Johnson’s life’s work was almost destroyed when his guardian declared him unable to pay for storage. Instead, Helen Harriton, Mary Beattie Brady, and others arranged with the court to have Johnson’s belongings delivered to the Harmon Foundation – the foundation would use the works to advance interracial understanding and support African American achievements in the fine arts.

Image released into public domain. 

source: http://www.wikimedia.org


Marie-Denise Villers, Young Woman Drawing, 1801

Little is known about the life and history of Villers. However, it is known that she was a neoclassic artist specializing in portraits of women and girls. Her work and timeline most closely align with the neoclassic movement of art history in which artists and sculptors draw inspiration from that of Ancient Greece or Rome. Consider the girl’s dress in the photograph above – reminiscent of garments worn in ancient times.

Image released into public domain.

(source: http://www.wikimedia.org)