Flag | Jasper Johns | 1954
Similar to the artist of our last post, Johns developed most of his work in the transition period between the abstract expressionism of the 40/50s and the pop art of the 60s in the United States. As a result, Johns’s paintings are neither purely abstract nor purely pop. Rather his style has elements of both movements.
The artist used iconographic motifs such as maps, letters and numbers, so that, in his abstraction, a figurative element remains. Although some of his paintings have muted and dark colors, he commonly chose a colorful palette.
One night in 1954, Johns dreams with an American flag, which inspires him to paint Flag. He will repeat this motif more than 40 times throughout his life, and it will become his personal brand. For the version of 1954, Johns portrays the American flag in force at the time, which does not include the states of Hawaii and Alaska, and that, therefore, only has 48 stars.
More than a painting, Flag is a collage, since the artist used newspapers of the time and covered them with encaustic and oil, achieving a highly textured work. But what I like the most is the fact that Flag ages with time because the newspapers underneath become increasingly yellowish.