AFTER Ynez Johnston

(American, born 1920)

Tribal Coast, 1964

Engraving on Paper

11½ x 17¾ Inches

Signed Lower Right, "Ynez Johnston" and Dated, "1964"

Additionally Inscribed, Lower Right, "imp"

Titled Lower Center, "Tribal Coast"

Number and Limitation, Lower Left, "198/210"

Framed Dimensions: 21¼ x 1½  x 26½ Inches


Born in Berkeley, California, Johnston first studied drafting, painting and printmaking at the University of California with Worth Ryder, Erle Loran and Margaret Peterson. Her work is characterized by "jigsaw" shapes reminiscent of primitive, tribal designs. This unique style blends modernism and ancient art forms from her travels to Italy, Mexico, India and Nepal. She has also undertaken 3-dimensional pieces in collaboration with her husband, poet and novelist John Berry, as well as with ceramic sculptor Adam Mekler.


Johnston's 1951, one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York created significant public interest in her work and initiated her career as a successful artist. Her oils and etchings of the 1950s and 1960s became more ambitious in their use of complex imagery while displaying a consistently disciplined and harmonised use of color. In later mixed-media pieces, Johnston examines the tactile qualities of surface. The paintings involve the combination, and occasional lamination, of diverse material soil, acrylic, dyes, encaustic on cloth, canvas, and raw silk. The colors are vibrant and the images are composite forms suggesting ambiguous architectural, human, animal and plant shapes. She cites Persian and Indian art as influences along with such artists as Matisse, Miro, Klee and Picasso.


Johnston has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. She has exhibited widely and with success, winning a variety of medals, prizes and juried awards including First Prize in watercolor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1952). She has also exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and at Mitsukoshi in Tokyo. Her work is held in the permanent collections of museums nation-wide including of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City and the Los Angeles County Museum among others.



Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Peter Hastings Falk, Sound View Press 1999, Vol. 2, p. 1752-1753; Les Krantz, American Artists, Illustrated Survey of Leading Contemporary Artists; Elenore Welles, 'Ynez Johnston', Farhat Cultural Center website; et al.







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