In 1980, Johns returned to the flag as a subject in his printmaking to create a commemorative lithograph for the Whitney Museum of American Art's 50th anniversary. He selected the subject in part due to the anniversary gift to the museum of the artist's encaustic on canvas painting Three Flags from 1958. In his print, he created a boldly colored image that retains the subtle handling of the tusche - a greasy liquid used to create a painterly quality in prints. We see red drips in the white stripes from where Johns painted the red strokes. He allows the unevenly stenciled blue field to reveal his hand. After careful study, we can also see the variations in his handling of the two juxtaposed flags such as different brushstrokes and drops of tusche. The artist could have easily photo-mechanically re-created a commemorative print; however, Johns demonstrates why he is one of the 20th-century's master printmakers through his visual inventiveness with his subjects.