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Sargent Johnson was the most highly lauded and successful African American artist of a generation that came to prominence during the period known as the Harlem Renaissance. His art and his life story are especially compelling, for they reveal the complexity of being a modernist artist of African and European descent working with racial subject matter in the United States of the twentieth century. This essay focuses on Johnson's love of music and his fascination with poet Gertrude Stein's opera Four Saints in Three Acts.

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