Biography: African American painter Malvin Gray Johnson was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. His family moved to New York City, where he studied art at the National Academy of Design. In the 1920s Johnson was living on 140th Street and exhibiting with the Society of Independent Artists. He rose to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance, absorbing influences from Impressionism, Cubism, and African sculpture. He showed in the Harmon Exhibits in the late 1920s and early 1930s, winning prizes in 1928 and 1929. During the Depression he worked on the Federal Arts Project. Also in the 1930s, he produced watercolors of African American subjects in Brightwood, Virginia, before his untimely death in 1934.