Historic Johnson Publishing artwork going on auction block

Some of the last assets of bankrupt Johnson Publishing Co., the former owner of Ebony and Jet magazines, will be sold off when an art collection that once decorated the company’s Chicago headquarters is put on the auction block.
Image: John H. Johnson
John H. Johnson, publisher of Ebony Magazine and owner of Johnson publications in 1974.Bettmann Archive

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By Associated Press

CHICAGO — Bankrupt Johnson Publishing Co., the former owner of Ebony and Jet magazines, will sell off art that once decorated the company’s Chicago headquarters.

Among the art to be auctioned Jan. 30 at a New York gallery will be paintings, sculptures and other works from 75 African American artists. Among the pieces is a painting by Carrie Mae Weems that chronicles the migration from the south of thousands of African Americans seeking to escape Jim Crow laws and anti-black violence.

Johnson Publishing filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in April, citing debts and unsuccessful attempts to restructure or sell the company.

In a July bankruptcy auction, Johnson Publishing sold its Ebony photo archives to a consortium of foundations for $30 million. Its Fashion Fair Cosmetics business was sold in December for $1.85 million.

In 2016, Ebony and Jet were sold to Clear View Group, a Texas equity firm.