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Sturtevant (b. 1926)
Sturtevant (b. 1926)

Johns Target with Four Faces

Sturtevant (b. 1926)
Johns Target with Four Faces
signed, titled, dedicated and dated '"JOHNS TARGET WITH FOUR FACES" Sturtevant 1987/90' (on the reverse)
encaustic on printed paper collage on canvas and encaustic on plaster in wood construction
33½ x 26 x 3 1/8 in. (85 x 66 x 7.9 cm.)
Executed in 1987-1990.
Acquired from the artist
L. Maculan, ed., Sturtevant: Catalogue Raisonné 1964-2004, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2004, p. 52, no. 32 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

Using the same techniques, making the same errors, and thus coming out in the same place, Elaine Sturtevant, through the act of Duchampian appropriation, has made history by copying nearly exact articulations and spirit of the art of her contemporaries. Confirming Sturtevant's mastery in replication, when questioned about his process and technique, Warhol famously retorted, "I don't know. Ask Elaine." (Bill Arning, 'Sturtevant', Journal of Contemporary Art, vol. 2, no. 2, Fall/Winter 1989, p. 43.) In Johns Target with Four Faces (1987-1990), Sturtevant successfully confronts one of her most difficult challenges, the recreation of Jasper Johns' seminal encaustic work, Target with Four Faces, complete with tinted-plaster molds. In an interview with Leo Castelli, who admired and propelled both Sturtevant and Johns' careers, Sturtevant and Castelli expounded:

Leo Castelli: Why did she do it? How did this idea occur to her. It was really at the time an incredibly original idea. It was quite amazing; although now you are used to it. At the time when she appeared we were also used to the fact that artists like Marcel Duchamp for instance, did very extravagant things. I think that some of this spirit was communicated, God knows how, to our friend who sits here [Sturtevant], and that she then proceeded to try to do paintings by Jasper, or others. I think it was as faithfully as you could do it?

Elaine Sturtevant: Yes, as close as I could. As exactly as possible.

L.C.: So that they would be really, if you didn't know, if you looked at them as close as possible, that this was a work by Oldenburg or Jasper Johns or Andy Warhol," (D. Cameron, "A Conversation: A Salon History of Appropriation with Leo Castelli and Elaine Sturtevant, Flash Art, no. 143, November - December, 1988, p. 76).

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