I found the photo of the beautiful art above while searching for photos posted under a creative commons license. The license allows people to use images for personal, educational, and non-commercial use.
I clicked on the photo because I love folk art and it resembles some of the pieces I have in my home. I collect folk art because it is made by untrained artists, is beautiful and can be quite affordable.
This piece is not considered folk art because the artist was trained in New York City in the 1920s. It is a self-portrait of the black artist and his Danish wife, and it is owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The hand-colored woodcut on paper is titled Willie and Holcha and was created in 1935 by William H. Johnson of Florence, South Carolina.
Here’s the history on the piece: “Johnson married the Danish artist Holcha Krake in 1930 in Kerteminde, Denmark. She was sixteen years his senior and as committed to her weaving as William was to his art. This image shows how similar their features and skin colors were, and it is only Holcha’s blonde hair that indicates they were a biracial couple.”
I learned something today. What a beautiful find. Here is an online exhibit of Johnson’s work. Enjoy!