Jasper Johns (1930-)
Lithograph and monotype
Sheet: 50 × 38 in. (127 × 96.5 cm) Image: 40 1/4 × 33 1/4 in. (102.2 × 84.5 cm)
Printed by Jasper Johns; printed and published by Universal Limited Art Editions, Inc.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
The subject of these monotypes dates to 1960, the year Jasper Johns made a life-size painted bronzed sculpture based on a Savarin coffee can that he used to hold paintbrushes in his studio. He returned to the image in 1977, creating a lithograph of the Savarin can for a poster announcing a retrospective of his work at the Whitney Museum, and used the extra plates from this print run to create a new variation on the subject in 1981. A group of proofs rejected from the 1981 edition formed the basis for these monotypes, (three of seventeen in the Whitney’s collection). To make these unique works, Johns painted on surfaces such as paper or plastic, placed the image face down onto one of the Savarin lithographs, and ran the sheet through a press. They are remarkable for their inventive variety: the arrangement of Johns’s handprints in one, for example, reiterates the pattern and distribution of hatch marks in another, while a third, inky black, limns the brushes with stalk-like white lines that verge on abstract marks. As in much of Johns’s art, we become sensitized to difference through the repetition of the same.