Lester Johnson American, 1919-2010


“The hand knows more than the conscious mind. Lester trusted it to reveal secrets about our world and self that the mind could only over-simplify.”

– Martin Mugar on Lester Johnson

Lester Johnson was best known for creating paintings that seemed to be in motion. As a member of the New York School of painters in the 1950s, Johnson belonged to a group of artists who emerged during the rise of abstraction but formed a niche of their own: expressionist figurative painters. Though Johnson’s style underwent many changes (thick impasto brush strokes to mere drips of paint), he maintained the human figure as his primary subject, often drawing inspiration for his active compositions from his congested neighborhood of 1950s Bowery, New York (via Artsy).