Ynez Johnston Biography

Ynez Johnston




Ynez Johnston, printmaker, painter, sculptor, and teacher was born in Berkeley, California on May 12, 1920. As a child, her family encouraged her artistic tendencies by enrolling her in Saturday classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and with excursions to the de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Ynez later attended the University of California at Berkeley, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1941 and the Bertha B. Taussig Memorial Award for the outstanding graduate in fine arts. Her instructors, Worth Ryder, Erle Loran and Margaret Peterson, introduced her to work of Picasso, Klee, Miro and Braque.

In the early 1940s, Johnston traveled to Mexico to continue her studies but returned to Berkeley in 1943 eventually earning her Masters of Fine Arts in 1946. In 1949, she summered in Paris and then relocated to the Los Angeles area in the fall. Finding herself without a studio or press, Leonard Edmondson, a friend from college, opened his studio to her. She experimented with woodcut and began to do sculpture in 1950.

Johnston taught at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Chouinard Art Institute, California State College, University of Judaism, and Otis Art Institute. She was awarded the Anne Bremer Award in 1949, Huntington Hartford Residence in 1951 and 1957, Guggenheim Foundation Grant in 1952, Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 1955 and 1956, James D. Phelan Grant in 1958, MacDowell Colony Residency Grant in 1959, and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1976, 1985, and 1986. In 1992, the Fresno Art Museum honored Johnston with their Distinguished Woman Artist award and a retrospective of her work was mounted at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in 1998.

Her work is represented in the collections of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Bakersfield Museum of Art, Ball State University Art Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Colorado Springs Fine Art Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Fresno Art Museum, Grunwald Graphic Art Foundation, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Kennedy Museum of American Art, Krannert Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Israel, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Oakland Museum of California Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philbrook Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Worcester Art Museum.

Ynez Johnston died in 2019 in Los Angeles, Callifornia.