Following an early career as a painter, Seward Johnson turned his talents to the medium of sculpture. Since then, more than 450 of Johnson’s life-size cast bronze figures have been featured in private collections and museums in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as prominent places in the public realm such as Times Square and Rockefeller Center in New York City, Pacific Place of Hong Kong, Les Halles in Paris, and Via Condotti in Rome. Seward Johnson initially became widely known for his sculptures depicting people engaged in everyday activities. Johnson’s desire to highlight the mundane in his Celebrating the Familiar sculpture series has brought a unique voice to the world of art in public spaces.
Johnson is often recognized for his most dramatic work The Awakening, a giant aluminum sculpture, which sprawls in breadth, across an expanse of seventy feet. For many years at the National Park’s Hains Point in Washington, D.C., the piece is currently sited along the Potomac River at National Harbor. This work was profiled in LIFE magazine, Time Magazine and has become a “must see” destination in the nation’s capital. Additional castings of this work are now installed in Chesterfield, Missouri, and the city Viterbo, Italy.
Seward Johnson’s impact on the world of sculpture has not been limited to his personal artwork, and includes the founding of The Johnson Atelier and the founding of the spectacular Grounds For Sculpture. Inducted in 2014 into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, recipient on the 2019 International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2019Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award. The artist regularly adds works to all of his series, and invents intriguing new chapters of his oeuvre. At 89, Seward Johnson continues to create increasingly memorable works for the public realm.