Sargent Claude Johnson is an Inspirational and a Memorable Artist

Consuelo Kanaga (American, 1894-1978). Sargent Johnson, 1934. Gelatin silver photograph, Photo: 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (23.5 x 18.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Wallace B. Putnam from the estate of Consuelo Kanaga

Dorothy C.

Sargent Claude Johnson was an artist who took pride in his work. He was an outstanding artist that he achieved a national reputation and received many awards. His artistic work consisted of sculptors, painting, graphics, pottery, and carving. He was an African-American artist and was committed to creating a positive image of the African Americans people by use of his artistic skills. Due to this, he devoted his entire time to studying art majorly sculptures and carvings. He was a third born in a family of six children with the father being a Swedish and the mother, African-American. Sargent orphaned at a very tender age, he and his siblings were raised by relatives in Washington and Virginia. His inspiration in becoming an artist was influenced by his uncle’s wife, May Howard Jackson, who at that time was a famous sculptor. May majorly specialized in Negro themes. Sargent later moved to Boston, Chicago and finally settled at San Fransico Bay. He enrolled in California School of Fine Arts where he majorly took an interest in sculpting. Sargent gained recognition for his work and won several awards. He was hired by California Arts where he quickly advanced to a unit supervisor. Sargent was inspirational, differential, and memorable artist for many reasons.

Sargent’s Career in Art

Sargent first displayed his work with Harmon Foundation. Harmon Foundation demonstrated his art in New York, 1926. The foundation largely supported the African-American art and therefore Sargents work was mainly exhibited. His displays were very impressive such that they fetched the highest prices among all the art that was showed. His excellent skills in art made him be locally and even nationally known. Sargent’s works were majorly inspired by foreign cultures, and he little considered the traditional western techniques. Due to this, his work was not deemed to be American Art. Sargent’s art embraced naturalism and abstraction of the African American imagery. His works had a huge difference from those of Native American artists, first the fact that Sargent did like foreign culture made him extraordinary. Secondly, his work made use of natural materials and very colorful glazes in streamlined forms. He is, therefore, one of the inspiring artists during the time of Harlem Renaissance period. He manifested his interest in the African art through his executed copper masks that were based on the African prototypes and paintings of African culture.

Sargent did a lot of painting that includes; Forever Free, Elizabeth Gee, Chester, Negro Woman, Mother and child, Dorothy C and many others. In all paintings, he was representing an idea. The major idea that was pronounced in his paintings is the fight against racism during the time of Harlem Renaissance. He aimed at communicating that racism should be abolished in America and every person had the same rights.

Sargent’s artwork was influenced by the personal, philosophical and aesthetic view of art. His artwork was world hybrid of both African and American art. In his work, he pointed out the role of African-American artist in the America’s cultural democracy. Also, the influence of the Asian and Mexican art was prominent in Sargent’s large scale public work while also showing his desire to produce African-inspired work. A vibrant race of tradition in art contributes in bringing about the social equality.  Sargent wasn’t enriched with art classes but instead inspired by his Aunt May. Most of his artwork wasn’t considered  African American due to selection of other ethnicity works, but he was awarded for many things he stood by and had strong beliefs in them. He, himself, considered to be African American through the Civil Rights movements. Sargent emergency at the time of Harlem Renaissance had to wrestle with many issues but was determined to establish a black artistic community. He thrived in a multicultural atmosphere, and he was concerned with the representative of African-American subjects.  He consistently produced figurative art that mostly drew upon traditions in a decidedly modern way.

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