Jasper Johns (American, born Augusta, Georgia, 1930)
Graphite and ink on blotting paper
38 x 24in. (96.5 x 61cm)
Gift of Jim Dine, 1978
Not on view
Johns rarely makes studies for paintings, rendering this large sketch something of an exception. The resulting painting follows its specifications closely: a ruler, attached to the stretcher bar by a wing nut, scrapes an arc of wax-based encaustic paint before being halted by a small metal cup. The thick blotting paper used for this study allowed Johns to abrade the surface without rupturing it, in order to approximate the ruler’s future movement across the painting’s surface. Partaking of Johns’s extensive interest in impressions, traces and imprints, this disruption of the paper’s surface amounts to a subtle lateral tear, like rubbing away a layer of skin.
Inscription: Inscribed and signed (lower right): For Jim Dine - J. Johns
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting, 1955-1965," January 29–April 29, 2007, no. 45.
Kunstmuseum Basel. "Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting, 1955-1965," June 2—September 9, 2007, no. 45.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Trails: Selected Works from the Collection, 1934–2001," July 19–November 27, 2011, no catalogue.