Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting, 1955–1965
Jasper Johns (born 1930) 1st Etchings, 2nd State [Paint Brushes, Flashlight, 0 through 9, Lightbulb, Flag, Ale Cans], 1969 photoengraving and etching, trial proof on Auvergne paper National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons' Permanent Fund Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Jasper Johns (born 1930) 0 through 9, 1978 lithograph, working proof with chalk additions on wove paper Collection of the artist. Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
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Objects Revisited

In 1971, Decoy

Decoy, 1971
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
Decoy, 1971
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.

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exhibition information

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