JASPER JOHNS "CICADA" LITHOGRAPH, 1981
Jasper Johns (b.1930) is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. He had a major influence on the trajectory of American post-war art, encouraging the demise of Abstract Expressionism and the introduction of Pop Art.
In the 1950's, Johns rose to prominence with his unconventional painting approach and break-through subject matter. He appropriated everyday objects and simple schema like maps, targets, letters, and numbers. These banal and ubiquitous elements were frequently encountered in daily life, but irrelevant to art. By repeatedly employing and experimenting with these motifs, Johns turned them into a continuous series. Johns helped welcome representation back into painting, and influenced the rise of Pop Art, which embraced depictions of everyday objects.
Ironically after nearly two decades of having figuration in his artwork, Johns began to embrace pure abstraction.
In 1971 on the Long Island Expressway, Johns was captivated by a pattern on the side of a passing car door. Although it was fleeting, Johns was transfixed by seeing a version of crosshatching: interlocking sections of diagonal, parallel lines.
Johns explained: “I only saw it for a second, but knew immediately that I was going to use it. It had all the qualities that interest me – literalness, repetitiveness, an obsessive quality, order with dumbness, and the possibility of a complete lack of meaning.” During the next decade (1972-1984) Johns enthusiastically embraced the crosshatching motif, realizing it with different colors, densities and layers.
Many of Jasper Johns' cross-hatched artworks have "Cicada" in their title.
Cicada's are insects that typically live in trees with distinctive membraneous wings. Cicada's have been used as motifs in art history since the Chinese Shang Dynasty in around 1600 B.C. They've appeared in literature, like Homer's Iliad, along with myths and folklore as symbols of carefree living and immortality.
John's has stated that: “The Cicada title has to do with the image of something bursting through its skin which is what they do. They have shells where the back splits and they emerge, and that basically splitting form is what I am trying to suggest.” To illustrate this splitting, Johns' employs different clusters of crosshatched lines and different colors.
Throughout Johns' illustrious career he earned numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, and the title of "foremost living artist" by The New York Times.
Johns' works are highly sought by collectors and regularly sell for millions of dollars at auction. In 2010 one of Johns' works was sold for an astonishing $110 million. He has regularly been considered the most valuable living artist.
Additional images available on request.
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Signed, dated, and numbered by the artist
Contains publishers blindstamps
Lithograph in colors on Georges Duchene Calcaire paper, with full margins
From an edition of 58 (plus 11 Artist's Proofs)
35"H 26"W (work)
Artwork is sold framed.
Very good condition.
Publisher: Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles
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