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         LESTER  JOHNSON     
         born 1919

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Although Lester Johnson thrived on the creative energy of New York City in the early 1960s, he preferred to paint in the relative solitude of a treehouse studio on Long Island. It was there that Robert Frank recorded Johnson's physically involving and emotionally demanding style of working. Johnson built up paintings through a process of brushing, flicking, scraping, layering, and even scrubbing paint onto the canvas, sometimes with both hands, until the desired image emerged. Although Johnson allowed himself to be photographed at work for the ARTnews article "Lester Johnson Paints a Picture," he would not finish the painting until Frank finally left, at which time he completely reworked the surface.

Robert Frank (born 1924)
Gelatin silver print, 1959
Published March 1961
ARTnews Collection, New York City
(Printable page)

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