Friday, April 29, 2005

I am SUCH a fan of WPA art. This canvas was done by Edwin Boyd Johnson. Anybody who doubts the legacy of the F.D. Roosevelt years remember the WPA art works! From their website:

Edwin Boyd Johnson (1904 - )
Mt. Kimball, Alaska 1938
Oil on canvas 76.7cm. x 102cm.

Johnson was one of twelve artists sent to Alaska in the summer and fall of 1937 by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to produce paintings for a national touring exhibit to promote tourism to Alaska. The exhibit was never held, and the paintings were dispersed. A number of Alaska Art Project artworks, including one by Johnson, were sent to decorate the walls of the Mt. McKinley Lodge, where they burned in a fire that completely destroyed the building in 1972.

This painting of Mt. Kimball in the Wrangell Mountains is one of the few works of Alaska by Johnson that are known to have survived. Several others are in the collections of the Alaska State Museum. Johnson was from Tennessee and studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago. During the Depression he was active in the WPA, and was listed as a designer, muralist and field supervisor for that agency in Chicago in 1940.


Anonymous said...

what a treat for me! i was raised in anchorage and edwin boyd johnson is actually my great-uncle. so, i got to view photos of my home town and a painting of my g-uncle's i had not seen yet. thanks a lot!

Debbie said...

My name is Robert McDowell and Edwin was my grandfather. He died in 1968. My wife and I went to the Anchorage Museum today to see this painting only to discover the exhibit closed for renovations!