Lincoln F. Johnson, 80, teacher, art historian, critic for Sun in 1970s

May 10, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Lincoln Fernando Johnson, an art historian, teacher and former art critic for The Sun, died Tuesday of leukemia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 80 and lived in Towson.

A Goucher College professor for 35 years, he wrote his thesis on French artist Toulouse-Lautrec and lectured widely on film. In the 1960s, he was an organizer of the Maryland Film Festival, later the Film Forum. He wrote art criticism for The Sun from 1971 to 1978.

"He was great fun to go to the movies with. He looked at film as art and not as story - as something to see - rather than the dialogue," said Brooke Pierce, retired Goucher professor of English. "He was one of the brightest of my colleagues. His mind was brilliantly intellectual and richly creative."

"What made him a good critic was that he was a painter himself. He brought a wonderful objectivity to anything he wrote," said artist Greg Otto of Roland Park.

Mr. Johnson was the author of the book "Film: Space, Time, Light and Sound," published in 1974, and introduced films shown at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. He testified locally for the defense of "I Am Curious (Yellow)," a 1969 film that censors sought to expurgate, and also was a champion of the Federico Fellini film "La Dolce Vita."

He joined the Goucher faculty in 1950 and taught numerous courses, often focusing on 19th- and 20th-century European and American art. He chaired the school's fine arts department before his 1985 retirement.

Born in Lynn, Mass., Mr. Johnson was a graduate of Lynn Classical High School, Bowdoin College and Harvard University, where he received his master's degree and doctorate. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

During World War II, he served in the Army Air Forces in China, Burma and India.

In 1974, he married Rodica Isaila, who survives him. His earlier marriages ended in divorce.

He is also survived by two sons, Michael Johnson of Weare, N.H., and Christopher Yavelow of the Netherlands; and two granddaughters.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

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