New York Scene
Lester Johnson (1919- ) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1947 Johnson moved to New York and became one of the first downtown loft-dwellers. He shared a lower East Side studio with Larry Rivers and attended some of Hans Hofmann's New York classes. Rents were cheap but Johnson was broke much of the time as he tried to support his painting through a variety of part-time jobs, including teaching art. In 1950, he and Philip Pearlstein shared a studio space. Johnson's various studios, on the Bowery and elsewhere, were always one flight up with a view of Manhattan's active street life. No wonder, for almost 50 years now, street scenes have been a dominant part of his art.