Nancy Littlejohn Fine ArtKysa Johnson's After Monet

I have always loved Monet’s lyrical and luscious waterlily paintings. I would spend hours as a teenager sitting in the Water Lilies room at the “old” MOMA in New York basking in the sublime beauty of its three long enveloping panels in the room that was dedicated just to it.

When I was researching the microscopic sea dwellers phytoplankton (whose fossils become the raw material for crude oil) for the series Crude which traces the natural history of oil from its chemical inception in nebulae to its modern extraction from the earth, I was struck by how their forms reminded me so much of those paintings. Simple shapes based on phytoplankton structures became the base imagery of this work and it seemed only fitting to relate the micro water creatures and the macro water lilies, so I recasted Monet’s Water Lily paintings as the compositional and chromic structures in the Crude paintings and drawings.

Not only linked by their aquatic nature and their basic forms, historically Monet’s Water Lily paintings were created at the moment when due to technological advancements in WW1 oil was about to explode in usage in a way that has defined our relationship to it over the last hundred years. As we near the transition to a new age of energy, looking back to the start of that journey seemed a fitting bookend.

Kysa Johnson, November 2020


NLFA gives the Houston arts community well-deserved recognition in the National and International art world. Bringing 30 years of experience as a patron, collector, art advisor, and gallerist, Littlejohn delivers an experience unlike anything you’ve seen. In 1998 she opened what has been noted as the most avant-garde gallery in Texas, bravely showcasing emerging talent through exhibitions, performances, and thoughtfully curated multi-disciplinary events. Today, NLFA represents the very best Nationally and Internationally recognized established and emerging contemporary artists.

Nestled in the exclusive River Oaks neighborhood in Houston, Texas, Nancy Littlejohn thoughtfully renovated the 5,000 square foot modernist masterpiece originally designed and occupied by world-renowned architect S.I. Morris in the early 1970s. “Seth Irvin Morris and his architectural firm left a timeless imprint on the Houston skyline, from the first-of-it’s-kind Astrodome to downtown’s trapezoidal Pennzoil Place skyscraper to the Williams Tower that looms high over the Galleria”. NLFA is a destination surrounded by the city’s best boutique design firms, antique emporiums, flower shops, and restaurants.

Ms. Littlejohn’s civic work includes serving as a board member of the Houston Symphony and past board president of the Houston Symphony League, board member of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Blaffer Art Museum University of Houston, the Moores School of Music University of Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Guild, Lawndale Art Center, the advisory board of the Houston Arts Alliance and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Littlejohn has also been recognized for her work with the AIDS Foundation Houston, Escape Family Resource Center, FotoFest International, Houston Art League, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens of the MFAH, and the Rothko Chapel.