In the late 1970s, after the artist’s explosive Pop Art beginnings and a period of abstraction, representational objects made their way back into Jasper Johns’ work. Supported by the artist’s words and previous scholarship, Jasper Johns is the first comprehensive study of his later paintings and works on paper.
Fiona Donovan helps contextualize images that have personal significance for Johns and explain a broader humanist discourse. Readers learn of his absorption with the appropriation and abstraction of images taken from Cézanne, Grünewald, Picasso, and others, and discover the inspiration Johns finds in his immediate surroundings. Progressing through several key phases and turning points in the artist’s career, Donovan brings to light not only this subtext of inspirations and influences but also Johns’ circle of contemporaries, collaborators, and personal perceptions and obsessions. Johns’ compelling and enduring curiosity is omnipresent and reflected in his stylistic changes, but the shifting themes, motifs, and moods of his work are all underpinned by his exceptional skill.
This publication offers a rare occasion to view and further understand a compellingly beautiful but elusive oeuvre.
Fiona Donovan is an art historian based in New York. She published the monograph Rubens and England and is a Trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.