Jasper Johns (Contemporary artist)



2015-06-26 11:06:13

Jasper Johns (1930 -) is an American contemporary artist.

Artist biography

Jasper Johns was born in 1930 in Augusta, Georgia. He became a student in South Carolina between 1947-1948 and began his art career in earnest in 1954 when, along with Robert Rauschenburg he decorated the Tiffany's window in New York.

Jasper Johns' earlier work was unique as he attempted to bridge the gap between art and logic by centring his art around the concepts of flags, letters and numbers. Gallery owner Leo Castelli is the man most often credited for introduced Jasper Johns to the world of commercial painting – it was he who arranged the Museum of Modern Art exhibition in 1958 during which Jasper John sold three paintings.

He began printmaking also and in the 1960s began to paint sculptural items such as paintbrushes. He specialised in drawing everyday items but in a way that was non-representational; thus trying to challenge the viewer's perception of the norm. Jasper Johns also collaborated with artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Morris and also became a book illustrator; working for, amongst others, poet Frank O' Hara. He is credited for being one of the founders of the 'Pop Art' movement and for also being a significant player in the movements of Minimalism and Conceptual Art.

Influence on other artists

Jasper Johns' influences include Robert Rauschenburg, Picasso, Cezanne and a philosopher named Ludwig Wittgenstein who spoke in length on the subject of breakdown of logic.

Artists which are thought to be influenced by his work include Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein.

Most famous works

Jasper Johns' most iconic work is considered to be the painting 'Flag' which he produced in 1954-1955 – it is a painting of the American Flag.

Most Expensive Work

In the latter half of 2006 David Geffen, Hollywood producer sold Jasper Johns' 1959 work 'False Start' to a businessman in Chicago, Kenneth C. Griffin It was a private sale, sold for a staggering $80 million. This is the second highest price for work produced by a contemporary artist and makes it one of the most expensive paintings in the world.

Skate's Art Market Research cite Jasper Johns as the thirtieth most valuable world artist. They include seven of his works in the 'Skate's Top 1000'; an index of the thousand most valuable auction art sales.

Notable Auction Sales

  • 1980 – The Whitney Museum of Modern Art purchases 'Three Flags' for $1 million.
  • At the time, this was the highest price ever paid for work by a living artist.
  • 1986 – Out the Window (1958) sold, at Sothebys for $4.5 million
  • 1988 - 'False Start' (see 'Most Expensive Work') was auctioned by Sothebys and reached a price of $17 million.
  • 1998 – 'White Flag' is purchased in New York by the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. The purchasing price was not disclosed but experts believed it reached more than $20 million.

Popularity with collectors

Jasper Johns' is highly popular amongst collectors although his renown and his tendency to have produced only four or five pieces a year means that his work is considered both rare and expensive. The largest collection of his work is at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Who, in 2007 acquired 1,700 of Johns' proofs.

Notable achievements

Jasper Johns was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in February 2011 honoured for his role in shaping the pop, conceptual and minimal art movements.

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