• Creator
  • William H. Johnson, born Florence, SC 1901-died Central Islip, NY 1970
  • Created Date
  • ca. 1943-1944
  • Description
  • Moon over Harlem commemorates the riots of 1943, when a confrontation between a white police officer, a black woman, and a black soldier resulted in a melee of fighting and burning that left several killed and hundreds wounded. William H. Johnson based the pairs of figures at the left and right margins on photographs of rioters arrested by white officers. But Johnson painted the police as black men, and the ground is strewn with empty liquor b... more
    Moon over Harlem commemorates the riots of 1943, when a confrontation between a white police officer, a black woman, and a black soldier resulted in a melee of fighting and burning that left several killed and hundreds wounded. William H. Johnson based the pairs of figures at the left and right margins on photographs of rioters arrested by white officers. But Johnson painted the police as black men, and the ground is strewn with empty liquor bottles, as if the artist wanted to suggest that the people of Harlem were brutalizing themselves through their own behavior. less
  • Format
  • Oil on plywood
  • Rights
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation