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Famed Artist Robert Johnson Dies On Eve Of Retrospective

Robert Johnson, one of this region's most exhibited and collected artists, has died.

Johnson first came to public attention 30 years ago when Asheville entrpreneur John Cram gave him his first solo show at Blue Spiral Gallery. Johnson brought an impressionist's eye to his depictions of forests and fauna, and his paintings were popular with a thread of collectors around the world.

Johnson had lived in the artist community of Celo since 1972, and he had battled a form of blood cancer since early 2020. Blue Spiral had worked with Johnson to prepare what will now be a memorial retrospective of Johnson's work, opening Sept. 3.

Blue Ridge Public Radio profiled Johnson this past January.

Matt Peiken, BPR’s first full-time arts journalist, has spent his entire career covering arts and culture.
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