In 1971, Decoy
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Woodward Foundation, Washington, DC. Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY(fig. a) marked the first of only two instances in which Johns made a print first and followed it with a painting based on the image. A photograph of an actual Ballantine can is at the center of this elaborate nineteen-color offset lithograph, and the relief surfaces of the canceled a matrix that physically has been marked, for example, with an X across the surface. photoengraved plates from 1st Etchings, 2nd State have been transferred to a lithography matrix and printed as a frieze across the bottom.
One of the Decoy proofs, printed in black, defined all the major
elements and determined the placement of subsequent colors. Other proofs show
subtle variations in both composition and color, including one
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons' Permanent Fund. Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY that is extensively reworked in crayon, wash, color pencil, paint, and chalk. A group of Decoy proofs in which the frieze had been too lightly printed was set aside and excluded from the published edition. In 1973 these became Decoy II
Decoy II, 1971/1973
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Woodward Foundation, Washington, DC. Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY (fig. b) when the artist reworked them, adding seven new matrices.
All the works in this exhibition were made more than two decades ago. Today Jasper Johns remains committed to making prints, creating multiple original works of art that mine the distinctive coordination of iconography, method, and material with the fresh vision and experimental impulse that mark this earlier work. Employing traditional techniques used by Rembrandt (etching) and Goya (etching and lithography) centuries ago, as well as the more modern photoengraving and screenprint processes, Johns continues to challenge his viewers, as he challenges himself, to reconsider the boundaries and meanings of representation and abstraction.