In the beginning, there were 200 paintings—and the firm conviction that fine art of the South deserved a larger role on the stage of American art. Since that time in 2002, the Johnson Collection has grown to encompass 1,200 objects and has been lauded for having staged a “quiet art historical revolution” and expanding “the meaning of regional” by “The Magazine Antiques”. As the collection’s founding director, David Henderson guided that growth and ever-expanding vision. After fourteen years in this seminal role, Henderson announced his retirement effective July 1, 2016.
Working in close collaboration with the Johnson family, Henderson established the collection’s curatorial framework and acquisition strategy. He also launched the collection’s ambitious publication and exhibition initiatives, building partnerships with museums and scholars across the country. “David’s passion for Southern art and history has been a catalyst for the collection since its formation. His expertise and keen understanding of the market have been an invaluable resource, and we are grateful for his leadership these many years,” stated George D. Johnson, Jr.
Fine art is a second vocation for Henderson, who retired early from a successful business career and then devoted himself to a burgeoning interest in Southern art. His own sizeable collection of works now forms the foundation of holdings represented by his family enterprise, H + K Gallery, to which Henderson, 73, will now dedicate more of his time. Henderson describes his tenure with the Johnson Collection as a “tremendous privilege that brought me great joy. The Johnson family’s commitment to the advancement of Southern art is unprecedented; working with George and Susu to shape the collection was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I value beyond measure.”
Located in Spartanburg, SC, the Johnson Collection offers an extensive survey of artistic activity in the American South from the late eighteenth century to the present day. In May 2016, the collection received the Governor’s Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts, South Carolina’s highest honor in the field.
Complete information on TJC’s mission and current initiatives can be found on the collection’s website at (www.thejohnsoncollection.org).