• Prints & Multiples auction at Christies

    Sale 2309

    Prints & Multiples

    26 - 27 April 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 239


    Two Flags (Whitney Anniversary) (ULAE 207)

    Price Realised  


    Two Flags (Whitney Anniversary) (ULAE 207)
    lithograph in colors, 1980, on Arches 88, signed and dated in pencil, numbered 27/51 (there were also 11 artist's proofs), published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, with their blindstamps, with full margins, time staining, otherwise in very good condition, framed
    L. 45¼ x 32½ in. (1150 x 750 mm.)
    S. 50 x 33 7/8 in. (1270 x 860 mm.)

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    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.


    Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles.

    Pre-Lot Text