JASPER JOHNS (b. 1930)

Usuyuki (ULAE 227)

JASPER JOHNS (b. 1930)
Usuyuki (ULAE 227)
screenprint in colors, 1982, on Kurotani Kozo paper, signed and dated in pencil, numbered 9/52 (there were also 6 artist's proofs), co-published by the artist and Simca Print Artists, Inc., New York, with their blindstamp, framed
Image: 27¼ x 45¾ in. (695 x 1165 mm.)
Sheet: 29¼ x 47 in. (740 x 1195 mm.)
Executed in 1982. This work is number nine from an edition of fifty-two plus six artist's proofs.
David Whitney, New York
His sale; Christie's, New York, 7 November 1996, lot 676
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

Lot Essay

The term Usuyuki in Japanese means "light snow" and is used when referring to something ephemeral or fleeting. It is also the title of a Kabuki (Japanese opera) love story which occurs in the cherry blossom season. Johns adopted the term when working on a group of works in the early 1980s which exhibit both the characteristics of snow's transience, as well as displaying a delicate feminine palette. Several of Johns' recurring devices can be traced in this work: his use of grids and repetitive crosshatching creates an underlying geometric structure; the use of layered opaque and translucent strips disrupts the surface and any visual anchor the eye tries to establish; and finally the juxtaposition of fragments to the whole each suggest a myriad of possible meanings.

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