CSCC Library's Art Collection: Roman Johnson

information about works of art in CSCC's Library's permanent and temporary exhibits

Biographical Information about Roman Johnson

"Roman Johnson (1917-2005): He was known for social-justice paintings, portraits (including one of his beloved wife, Iona) and a rascally personally. Except for 10 years in New York, he was a lifelong Columbus resident."

Source: "The 17 'Roots and Legacies' artists." Columbus Dispatch. 25 Nov. 2007. Web. 7 Dec. 2011.

Roman Johnson was involved in the field of Fine Arts for more than 35 years. Roman studied with Cletus Butler, Emerson Burkhart, and Edwin Dickerson. Mr. Johnson spent a year painting in Paris and five years at the New York Art League. While in New York he served as Art Instructor for the American Red Cross and Veteran's Administration teaching and sketching convalescent service men.

In 1978 Mr. Johnson painted the portrait of Isabelle Ridgeway.  This painting can be seen in the photograph in the right column on this page.

Articles on Roman Johnson


Read Roman Johnson's obituary below:

Feran, Tim. "Painter was also Mentor to Many." The Columbus Dispatch, The (OH) 26 Oct. 2005, 01F Accessed through the NewsBank database.

Ludlow, Randy. "Black History -- Artist's Standing Growing After Death." Columbus Dispatch, The (OH) 1 Mar. 2015,1B. Accessed through the NewsBank database.

Photos of the Artist

Roman Johnson with his paintings

Photo of Roman Johnson [1990] courtesy of Kojo Kamau, photographer.

Roman Johnson and Ursel White Lewis in black and white in front of a portrait he created

Roman Johnson and Ursel White Lewis standing next to his portrait of Isabelle Ridgeway,
founder of the Isabelle Ridgeway Care Center, formerly the "Old Folks Home."

Photograph used with permission from Kojo Kamau, photographer.

Artist's Work in the Columbus State Collection


hibiscus flower with purple petals and green stem and leaves

Artist: Roman Johnson
Origin: American, 1917-2005
Title: “Hibiscus”
Description of work:  painting of bold, stylized flowers, 18 ½” x 23”
Date: 1989
Donor: Gift of Mrs. Ursel White Lewis

Roman Johnson & Emerson Burkart

Burkhart's portrait of Roman Johnson

Emerson Burkhart painted this portrait of Roman Johnson.  The portrait is called "The Confused Process of Becoming" and it can be found in the collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.  It was painted in 1946.

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