Lester Johnson (1919-2010): A Centennial Exhibition

David Klein Gallery
Apr 9, 2019 7:24PM

David Klein Gallery has had a long relationship with Lester Johnson and it is a great honor to present this exhibition on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Jo Johnson, his wife and passionate advocate for 61 years, who passed away in December of 2018.

Lester Johnson in his studio, c.

The 1960s was a truly heroic decade for Lester’s work. Paintings like Milford Head (Blue) – 1965 and Self Portrait with Wrought Iron Fence – 1967 reflect his determination to break free from the dominant abstract expressionist style of the 1950s. Johnson’s work from this period – his fierce figurative expressionism – was unique at the time and is still influential today.

Lester Johnson, Milford Head (Blue) - 1965, Oil on canvas, 42 x 30 inches

Lester Johnson, Self Portrait with Wrought Iron Fence - 1967, Oil on canvas, 70 x 40 inches

“There is no balance in my paintings because balance seems to me to be static. Life, which I try to reflect in my paintings, is dynamic…To me, my paintings are action paintings – paintings that move across the canvas, paintings that do not get stuck, but flow like time.”

-Lester Johnson, 1961

Lester and Jo Johnson in the South of France

Lester Johnson was an artist of international renown, whose work has been exhibited in and collected by major museums around the world (including The Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Detroit Institute of Arts, and The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.) and in over one hundred one-man shows in the United States and Europe. In 1987 he became an Associate of the National Academy of Design and in 2004 Johnson was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

David Klein Gallery