Title: Vision of George Washington
Oil on wood panel
Dimensions: 48 x 48 in. (121.9 x 121.9 cm)
Gift of Isabel and William Berley, Classes of 1947 and 1945
Object Number: 99.078.005
Howard Finster, who proclaimed himself a “Man of Visions,” frequently recounted the story of how, sometime around 1976, a spot of white paint on his finger transformed into a humanlike face before his eyes. The face—of God, or of Finster’s own “hidden man of the heart”—commanded him aloud to “paint sacred art.”
Finster sometimes said that a portrait of George Washington—based on the design of the United States dollar bill—constituted the first product of his divinely inspired mission. The portrait seen here is not that seminal one, but is sacred work number “2000 and 830,” as indicated by the artist’s inscription at the lower right of the panel. ("The Best Way to Prepare Bananas: Fruits of the Soul from the Permanent Collection," curated by Matt Conway and presented at the Johnson Museum June 24-August 13, 2017)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.