Buffie Johnson was born in New York City in 1912. Johnson studied at the Art Students League of New York and at the Academy Julian and S. W. Hayter Atelier in Paris, where she also studied privately with Francis Picabia. She earned a BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1946-1950, she was an instructor at the Parsons School of Design. Buffie Johnson exhibited with Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Hans Hofmann, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and Robert Motherwell, among others in the New York art scene. Johnson also exhibited at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, and in 1959 completed the world's largest abstract mural for the Astor Theatre in New York City. She is in the collections of Guggenheim, Whitney, Smithsonian, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Brooklyn Museum.