Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns
Born:
May 15, 1930
Birthplace:
Augusta, Georgia, United States

About Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns’s groundbreaking 1958 installation at the Leo Castelli Gallery of his famous arget and flag works changed the current of New York painting and had an extraordinary impact on contemporary art. In the paintings, Johns presents images that move into the realm of objects and wrestle with the validity of representation as a philosophical concept. The targets and flags, in the words of critic Leo Steinberg, were “co-extensive” with their canvases, existing somewhere between a symbol and a thing in the world. Not only did these paintings begin Johns’s successful dismantling of modern art through his ironic analysis of structures and rituals, but they also became the innovative new ground on which a generation of painters and sculptors made their work. Johns’s own career spans from the flags, through the device motif in the early 1960s, into the crosshatch paintings of the 1970s, and to his complex, densely layered recent works. 
 
Watchman was made while Jasper Johns was living abroad in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964. The seminal work features a wax cast of Johns’s friend’s leg, two canvas panels, and half of a standard dining table chair. The surface of the painting is seemingly in the midst of action. The words “red,” “yellow,” and “blue” printed partially on left side of the canvas appear as though in a state of erasure, while their colorful pigment counterparts appear (also disrupted) on the right. The ejection of the chair upward to the sky leaves an aftermath of orange, green, and gray, like a falling rain of expressive marks across a once ordered surface. Overall, Watchman is a painting that is trying to be more than a painting; it is caught in the very moment where the world of thought and representation (of symbols and signs) is transitioning into the world of action and physical expression.
 
Johns repeats and collects motifs throughout his career, ready to use them at anytime for different purposes and ends. For example, though Watchman might be seen as a further critique of modernist painting, Johns’s later work takes on more mysterious and elusive ambitions, engaging both the history of painting and more personal concerns. Untitled, 1992–94, for instance, collects Johns’s familiar early methods such as the use of flagstone imagery and text and positions them alongside the remembered plans of Johns’s childhood home, a cruciform image containing a young boy and Icarus, and the outline of a soldier depicted in Northern Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece. 

By Jasper Johns in the Collection

Jasper Johns
2008
aluminum (two sided) with aluminum base
20 3/8 x 38 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (51.75 x 97.16 x 3.18 cm)
Jasper Johns
1989
lithograph, ten aluminum plates
26 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. (66.68 x 102.24 cm)
Jasper Johns
2004
intaglio
43 x 30 in. (109.22 x 76.2 cm)
Jasper Johns
1981
silkscreen, 18 screens
24 x 19 in. (60.96 x 48.26 cm)
Jasper Johns
1976
silkscreen, 36 screens
42 1/4 x 53 in. (107.32 x 134.62 cm)
Jasper Johns
1971
lithograph with die cut
41 3/8 x 29 5/8 in. (105.09 x 75.25 cm)
Jasper Johns
1967
encaustic and collage on canvas (three panels)
33 1/2 x 56 1/4 in. (85.09 x 142.88 cm)
On View
Jasper Johns
1994
acrylic on canvas
12 11/16 x 19 13/16 in. (32.23 x 50.32 cm)
Jasper Johns
1968
color lithograph with stamps
34 x 25 in. (86.36 x 63.5 cm)
Jasper Johns
1973
silkscreen, 31 screens
27 1/2 x 35 in. (69.85 x 88.9 cm)
Jasper Johns
1973
silkscreen, 30 screens
27 1/2 x 35 in. (69.85 x 88.9 cm)
Jasper Johns
1969
lead relief with mirror
23 x 17 in. (58.42 x 43.18 cm)
Jasper Johns
1969
lead relief
39 x 17 in. (99.06 x 43.18 cm)
Jasper Johns
1982
monotype over lithograph
50 x 38 in. (127 x 96.52 cm)
Jasper Johns
1978
lithograph on Richard de Bas paper
26 x 20 1/2 in. (66.04 x 52.07 cm)
Jasper Johns
1978-79
lithograph on Richard de Bas paper
26 x 20 1/2 in. (66.04 x 52.07 cm)
Jasper Johns
1978-79
lithograph on Richard de Bas paper
26 x 20 1/2 in. (66.04 x 52.07 cm)
Jasper Johns
1978-79
lithograph on Richard de Bas paper
26 x 20 1/2 in. (66.04 x 52.07 cm)
Jasper Johns
1978-79
lithograph on Richard de Bas paper
26 x 20 1/2 in. (66.04 x 52.07 cm)
Jasper Johns
1979
lithograph on Richard de Bas paper
26 x 20 1/2 in. (66.04 x 52.07 cm)
Jasper Johns
1990
drypoint, with etching and aquatint
31 x 24 1/2 in. (78.74 x 62.23 cm)
Jasper Johns
1969
lead relief with tin relief and cast gold
23 x 17 in. (58.42 x 43.18 cm)
Jasper Johns
1977
silkscreen, 29 screens
43 1/4 x 56 1/4 in. (109.86 x 142.88 cm)
Jasper Johns
1987
four intaglio prints
26 x 19 in. (66.04 x 48.26 cm)
Jasper Johns
1987
four Intaglio prints
26 x 19 in. (66.04 x 48.26 cm)
Jasper Johns
1992-94
encaustic on canvas
78 1/2 x 118 3/8 in. (199.39 x 300.67 cm)
Jasper Johns
1994
lithograph, eight plates printed in color
36 1/4 x 30 1/2 in. (92.08 x 77.47 cm)
Jasper Johns
1991
encaustic and sand on canvas
50 7/8 x 35 3/8 in. (129.22 x 89.85 cm)
Jasper Johns
1986
charcoal on paper
44 x 89 5/8 in. (111.8 x 227.6 cm)
Jasper Johns
1984
encaustic on canvas
63 x 76 3/4 in. (160.02 x 194.95 cm)
Jasper Johns
1975
oil and encaustic on canvas (four panels)
50 1/8 x 50 1/8 in. (127.32 x 127.32 cm)
On View
Jasper Johns
1994
lithograph, eight plates
36 1/4 x 30 1/2 in. (92.08 x 77.47 cm)
Jasper Johns
2010
spit-bite aquatint, soft-ground, drypoint, and photogravure
13 x 15 11/16 in. (33.02 x 39.85 cm)
Jasper Johns
1993-94
pastel, charcoal and pencil on paper
27 5/8 x 40 3/4 in. (70.17 x 103.51 cm)
Jasper Johns
1990
lithograph, three plates
10 1/2 x 8 in. (26.67 x 20.32 cm)
Jasper Johns
1978
watercolor, graphite and ink on paper
18 x 17 1/4 in. (45.72 x 43.82 cm)
Jasper Johns
1981
silkscreen, 12 screens
29 1/2 x 47 1/4 inches (74.93 x 120.65 cm)
Jasper Johns
1986
lithograph, eleven aluminum plates
41 1/2 x 29 in. (105.41 x 73.66 cm)
Jasper Johns
1985
lithograph, eight aluminum plates
42 x 28 in. (106.68 x 71.12 cm)
Jasper Johns
1982
set of three lithographs; each: nine plates, printed with color
19 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (49.53 x 64.14 cm)
Jasper Johns
1964
oil on canvas with objects (two panels)
85 x 60 1/4 in. (215.9 x 153.04 cm)
On View
Jasper Johns
1960
oil and newspaper collage over lithograph
22 1/4 x 29 3/4 in. (56.52 x 75.57 cm)