J Seward Johnson, Jr. was born in 1930. He is an American artist known for his trompe l’oeil painted bronze statues. He is a grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson), and of Colonel Thomas Melville Dill, of Bermuda.
He is best known for his life-size bronze statues, which actually are castings of living people of all ages depicting them engaged in day-to-day activities. A large staff of technicians perform the fabrication.
Johnson was born in New Jersey. His father was John Seward Johnson I, and his mother was Ruth Dill, the sister of actress Diana Dill, therefore making him a first cousin of actor Michael Douglas. Johnson grew up with five siblings: Mary Lea Johnson Richards, Elaine Johnson, Diana Melville Johnson, Jennifer Underwood Johnson, and James Loring “Jimmy” Johnson. His parents divorced around 1937, and his father remarried two years later, producing his only brother Jimmy Johnson, making him an uncle to film director Jamie Johnson.
Johnson attended Forman School for dyslexics and University of Maine, where he majored in poultry husbandry, but did not graduate. Johnson also served four years in the Navy during the Korean War.
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