Jasper Johns has almost always selected the raw material of his art from preexisting images, or what he has called “things the mind already knows.” His first flag painting, created in 1954–1955, launched his career. Johns has said that using ready-made designs such as flags, targets, and numerals that are “seen and not looked at, not examined” gave him “room to work on other levels.” As flat objects, flags could be recognizably portrayed on a two-dimensional surface. Here, however, Johns’s doubling of the image and his handling of the medium—with scrapes and scratches, drips, and blotches of green color—make it clear that this is a work of art, not an actual flag.
lower left in graphite: AP 3/7; lower right in graphite: J Johns '73
Marks and Labels
embossed lower left: [Simca Press]
Robert and Jane Meyerhoff, Phoenix, Maryland; acquired 1994 by the National Gallery of Art
Associated NamesMeyerhoff, Robert E.
- Three Centuries of American Prints: from the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas, 2016-2017, no. 128.
- Field, Richard S. Jasper Johns: Prints 1970-1977. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1978, no. 173.
- Field, Richard S. The Prints of Jasper Johns, 1960-1993: A Catalogue Raisonné. West Islip, New York: Universal Limited Art Editions, 1994, no. 128.