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William Johnson
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    (March 18, 1901-April 13, 1970)
    Born in Florence, South Carolina
    African American artist
    Creator of the 'consciously naive' style of painting
    His wife was 15 years older than him.
    He went insane from syphilis.
    On a trip home to Florence, he was arrested while painting a brothel.
    He created an estimated 1500-plus paintings.
    He never knew who his father was.
    He taught himself to draw by copying comic strips.
    He moved to New York and worked his way through art school.
    Before creating his 'consciously naive' style, he excelled in the expressionist and modernist styles.
    He and his Danish wife, fearing what the Nazis would do to an inter-racial couple, had to flee Europe.
    He taught art during the Depression.
    After his wife's death from breast cancer in 1943 and suffering from advanced syphilis, he began suffering from mental illness and was hospitalized until his death, never painting again after 1956.

Credit: tom_jeffords

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