Sargent Johnson (1887-1967)

Sargent Johnson, Lovers, c. 1956, terra cotta on wooden base, 4 inches high, signed lower front

In Modern Negro Art James Porter says Sargent Johnson’s work “transcends racial interest” and “gives the double impression of uniqueness and audacity that one frequently gathers from the apt elliptical expressions of Negro folk poetry.”

Porter goes on to say that Johnson’s sculpture reflects influences from African art. “Johnson in particular made splendid application of these lessons [mild analogies to African Shapes] learned through research in the clearly defined and compact surfaces of his portraits in porcelain and terra cotta,” he says.

Johnson’s work is in the collections of the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana; Fisk University, Nashville Tennessee; Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey; Oakland Museum, Oakland, California; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; Schomburg Center, New York City; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City.