Rago Arts and Auction Center /May 7, 2016
€13,037.81 - €21,729.68
Artworks in Arcadja1995
Some works of Jasper JohnsExtracted between 1,995 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Wright -Jun 23, 2016 - ChicagoLot number: 230
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Jasper Johns The Critic Sees (from the Ten from Leo Castelli portfolio) 1967 embossing with screenprint in relief with acetate collage 23.75 h x 19.75 w in (60 x 50 cm) Signed, titled, dated and numbered to lower edge 'Jasper Johns 1967 T/Y'. This work is from the edition of 200 published by Tanglewood Press Inc., New York.
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JASPER JOHNS Untitled . Color screenprint on Patapar printing parchment, 1977. 241x238 mm; 9 1/2x9 3/8 inches, full margins. Edition of 3000. Printed by Simca Prints, Tokyo and New York. Published by Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York. A very good impression. Printed as the cover for the catalogue Jasper Johns/Screenprints by Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York. Field 260.
Auction: Sotheby's -May 11, 2016 - New-yorkLot number: 41
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Jasper Johns B. 1930 UNTITLED signed and dated 1991 encaustic on canvas 32 by 22 1/2 in. 81.3 by 57.1 cm. Jasper Johns B. 1930 UNTITLED signed and dated 1991 encaustic on canvas 32 by 22 1/2 in. 81.3 by 57.1 cm. Provenance Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (LC #333) Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1991) Christie's, New York, November 20, 1996, Lot 41 Acquired from the above by the present owner Exhibited Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago; and New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jasper Johns: Gray , November 2007 - May 2008, n.p., no. 124, illustrated in color Catalogue Note “When something is new to us, we treat it as an experience. We feel that our senses are awake and clear. We are alive.” (Jasper Johns quoted in Calvin Tomkins, “The Changing Picture: A Retrospective Reveals Jasper Johns,” The New Yorker , November 11, 1996, 124) “I got tired of people talking about things that I didn’’’’’’’’t think they could see in my work… It interested me that people would discuss something that I didn’’’’’’’’t believe they could see until after they were told to see it… And when I decided to work with this new configuration, I decided I wasn’’’’’’’’t going to say what it was or where it had come from. One of the things that interested me was that I knew I couldn’’’’’’’’t see it without seeing it, seeing that , because I knew, and I knew that someone else wouldn’’’’’’’’ t know and wouldn’’’’’’’’t see, and I wondered what the difference was in the way we would see it. And, of course, I’’’’’’’’ll never know…” (Jasper Johns quoted in Exh. Cat., Minneapolis, Walker Art Center (and travelling), Past Things and Present: Jasper Johns since 1983 , 2003, p. 28) In the early 1960s, Johns famously instructed himself: “Take an object, do something to it, do something else to it.” Evoking the Duchampian spirit of borrowing, reconfiguring, and recontextualizing given forms, Johns’’’’’’’’ seminal Untitled from 1991 marks a critical revelation in the trajectory of the artist’’’’’’’’s incisive, piercingly intelligent career. While Johns long used the appropriation and citation of art historical motifs, he turned to the strategy with renewed concentration during the 1980s and 1990s as a way to further remove his personality and subjectivity from his paintings. During this period, Johns began incorporating schematic outlines of famous works by Matthias Grünewald, Hans Holbein, and Pablo Picasso. Untitled is a pivotal example from this period of Johns’’’’’’’’ production that depicts one of Johns’’’’’’’’ most enigmatic, surrealist representations: an icon that he termed Green Angel . The Green Angel is the source that Johns has infamously kept secret, withholding the image’’’’’’’’s provenance subject to much scholarly speculation. Johns first initiated use of the shape in a group of untitled drawings sketched on April Fool’’’’’’’’s Day, 1990, in his studio in St. Martin. Interested in excavating the abstract quality and patterning from the figurative meaning of his art historical appropriations, Johns aimed to uncover another source of meaning: one unhindered by the psychological baggage that viewers bring to the recognition of any cited reference. Just as Johns harnessed the potent, ubiquitous symbols of flags, targets, numbers, and alphabets in his earliest bodies of work, the historical quotations gave Johns a subject that had a pre-ordained design and format: images that already exist prior to any artistic invention or intervention. Joan Ruthfuss noted, “This variation on the student practice of making copies ‘after the masters’’’’’’’’ has offered Johns the chance to explore what happens when a highly expressive figurative image is emptied of its content and its ‘shell’’’’’’’’ is reused as an image on its own. Does other content move in to fill it? Or does the shell itself somehow steer the viewer toward the original content?” (Joan Ruthfuss in Exh. Cat., Minneapolis, Walker Art Center (and travelling), Past Things and Present: Jasper Johns since 1983 , 2003, p. 11) Johns evades legibility, instead privileging the puzzle viewers encounter when faced with the unknown. Johns forces the viewer to have an entirely new experience with the image; one starkly different from his own, and one that absorbs a peculiar representation of something in the face of total unfamiliarity with its referent. While the Green Angel appears to hint at figuration in the seemingly discernible facial features and vividly colored eyes around its perimeter—as well as the background that implies a traditional figure-ground relationship—Johns drains the image of any specificity. In his signature and beloved gray, Johns further empties the tracing of any of its associative power, focusing primarily on its formal qualities. Johns states that he is interested in “the degree to which [things] can be changed in some way and yet remain what they are.” (the artist quoted in Ibid. , p. 34) With its isolated outline and bold geometric contours, the Green Angel remains an index of its source, yet is thrillingly ambiguous in the shape that it signifies. With this image, Johns pushes further toward abstraction than he ever had in his entire output: abstract thought and the non-illusionistic image utterly subvert comprehensibility. While the palette of Untitled epitomizes the central importance of the monochrome gray in Johns’’’’’’’’ oeuvre, what is most evocative in this canvas are the vivid colors that punctuate the surface. Reds, greens, purples, and yellows emerge from beneath and around the gray encaustic, summoning the very complexity of the color spectrum that invigorates Johns’’’’’’’’ work. Oscillating between abstraction and representation, the nuanced negotiation between the predominant gray and the colors it envelops only serves to heighten the compelling conceptual depth of the picture: “ Green Angel references illusion only to subvert it, but it cannot be considered an abstraction either, although it effectively functions as one. Compare it, for example, to Ellsworth Kelly’’’’’’’’s work: his abstractions are based on the world of objects, but the sources are subjected to a process of distillation that buries them deeply within the finished compositions. In a way, Green Angel is an image about this transformation; as its sections shift or fade in and out of view, its contours become more or less detailed, and it gains or loses coloration. One might almost imagine that one is watching a physical struggle as the motif attempts to achieve some kind of clarity.” (Joan Ruthfuss in Ibid. , p. 38) The significance and intricacy of the color gray was crystallized in the 2007-2008 exhibition Jasper Johns: Gray at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in which Untitled was notably included. Throughout the early part of his career, Johns explored the artistic possibilities presented by the trinity of red, yellow and blue, complemented by glorious works that resound in one color; the fusion of both ends of the chromatic spectrum – gray. Gray emerged as a protagonist in Johns’’’’’’’’ exploration of neutral, self-contained abstractions with his first Flags , Targets , Alphabets , and Numbers between 1956 and 1959. What gray offered was a nonillusionistic uniformity— rendering the everyday consumer objects of a stretched canvas, a coat hanger and drawers in some of his first encaustic paintings advanced the literal quality of the works above all emotional provocations associated with color. Divested of color, the marks Johns made in his encaustic surface become even more profound, contrasting only in subtle tonal differences brought about by the variances in reflected light that catch the polished ground. The dominance of the color gray in Untitled ’’’’’’’’s depiction of the Green Angel further dematerializes the image, draining the illusionism of color in place of an amplified monochromatic abstraction. Rondeau described the pre-eminence of Johns’’’’’’’’ gray versions of his historical appropriations: “If the initial re-creation or appropriation of an emblem from the larger culture into painting—whether an early target or later tracing—is an act of displacement of an already elusive image or object, gray painting, like a black-and-white photograph, compounds the act by not providing a full record of the real… In gray, touch becomes both form and image.” (James Rondeau in Exh. Cat., Art Institute of Chicago (and travelling), Jasper Johns: Gray , 2007, p. 33) With the grisaille palette, Johns emphasizes the tactility of the encaustic surface and the objecthood of the painting, focusing the viewer’’’’’’’’s attention toward the painting’’’’’’’’s physicality rather than the hegemony of the image: color is here integral to the literalness that Johns aims to achieve. If the appeal of the Green Angel for Johns lies in its ambiguity, then gray provides the ideal vehicle for his conceptual goal; as Rondeau continued, “Mediating between the extremes of black and white, gray connotes ambiguity, a purposive indeterminacy of meaning.” ( Ibid .) Forever concerned with the tension between seeing and knowing, Johns’’’’’’’’ painting threatens traditional modes of reading and interpreting pictures. Johns diverts the traditional desire for understanding to provoke increased looking. With the labyrinthine Untitled , the artist promotes an evaluation of the importance of the image itself, freed from information about its source. As Joan Ruthfuss praised of the Green Angel series, “This body of work is one of the most curious Johns has yet produced: despite that many cues that encourage us to see the motif as more than just a random arrangement of line and color, Green Angel resists positive identification as anything in particular. Instead, it hovers enigmatically between illusion and abstraction.” (Joan Ruthfuss in Exh. Cat., Minneapolis, Walker Art Center (and travelling), Past Things and Present: Jasper Johns since 1983 , 2003, p. 28) Fig. 1 The present work installed in the exhibition “Jasper Johns: Gray,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February – May 2008 Image copyright © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY Art © 2016 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Fig. 2 René Magritte, Song of Violet , 195 Private Collection © 2016 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York See More See Less
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Jasper Johns (American, b. 1930) Cicada, 1981 Lithograph in colors (framed) Signed and numbered 22/58 35" x 26" (sheet) Printer/Publisher: Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles Literature: ULAE 213 Provenance: Private Collection, New York Signed and numbered in pencil lower recto. Blind stamp lower right recto. No issues noted. Not examined out of frame. A full condition report has yet to be completed for this lot. Please contact the auction house for more information. Please be advised that condition reports are often updated during preview. Please be sure to check for updated condition reports the day of the sale, as there may have been a change or addition.
Auction: Heffel -Apr 28, 2016 - MontrealLot number: 214
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Jasper Johns 1930 - American Untitled screenprint in colours on Patapar printing parchment 1977 10 x 10 in 25.4 x 25.4cm Provenance: Private Collection, Toronto Literature: Jasper Johns Screenprints, Brooke Alexander Inc., 1977, reproduced front cover This print is the cover for the Brooke Alexander Gallery catalogue Jasper Johns: Screenprints from 1977. This print was produced by Simca Artists, New York, in an unsigned edition of 3000. The original catalogue is included with the lot. Please note: this work is unframed.