Target, from For Meyer Schapiro (ULAE 126) , 1973
23¾ x 16 3/8 inches (60.3 x 41.6 cm.)
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Though often included among the luminaries of 20th century pop artists in America, Jasper Johns’ work was also counted amongst the Neo-Dadaist and abstract expressionism movements. Johns’ work utilized imagery and figures found in popular culture, however, it was their composition using unlikely materials and their juxtaposition against other what make transcend the pop aesthetic. Throughout his career, Johns held several records for ‘most expensive artworks by living artists’ at the most prestigious auction houses in the world. One of his seminal pieces, Flag, which was inspired by a dream he had in the mid 1950’s following his service in the Korean War, would inspire a series of pieces based on the American flag, and would become one his flagship works.
Targets were a longtime artistic interest of Jasper Johns, and he began introducing them in his work in the 1950’s. This piece, part of a portfolio of work created to pay tribute to the dazzling and groundbreaking contributions of the art historian Meyer Schapiro, shows a target rendered in monochromatic hues. Through multidirectional achromic brushstrokes, the artist achieves an impressively striking boldness.