Traditional painter of historical Western scenes, born in New York City in 1921 and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico since 1975. “My father was a sculptor,” he says, “my mother a landscape painter. I studied art for three and a half years at the Art Students League (as had my father and mother). Despite all this family interest in art, no one ever pushed it on me.”
Raised in the East, Johnson also studied in WPA adult art classes, and went to the League after serving in the Corps of Engineers in World War II. To get started as an illustrator, he worked in an art studio for six months with no pay, then painted Westerns for men’s pulp magazines. When the pulps decline, he spent nineteen year as an instructor at the Famous Artists School in Westport, Connecticut, where the well-known illustrator Harold Von Schmidt told Johnson about the market for Western paintings. Johnson was named a charter member of the Cowboy Artists of American and was in its first show in 1966. His oil paintings won silver medals at the 1978 and 1979 shows.
Johnson believes that “artists need the stimulation that comes from association with other artists. Since my particular subject is in the Western vein, Santa Fe is the culmination of years of dreaming. Western art has had to pass more tests than most people realize, but I feel that we have established Western art as fine art.” Johnson is listen Who’s Who in American Art and in virtually all Western art text. He has been featured in Artists of the Rockies and twice in Southwest Art.
Resource: Contemporary Western Artists, by Peggy and Harold Samuels 1982, Judd’s Inc., Washington, D.C.