White Flag

Jasper Johns American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 920

During the 1950s and 1960s Johns frequently appropriated well-known images such as targets, maps, and flags—in his words, "things the mind already knows." White Flag is part of Johns’s famous flag series, which he began in 1954. In this rendering, he drains this iconic subject of its characteristic red, white, and blue coloration, leaving it to loom, ghostlike. The painting’s bleached appearance and composite, layered form make the familiar image strange. By challenging our understanding of what constitutes a national symbol and complicating our relationship to this highly charged American image, it speaks powerfully, if ambiguously, to the issue of national identity.

#2020. Modern & Contemporary Art: White Flag

White Flag, Jasper Johns (American, born Augusta, Georgia, 1930), Encaustic, oil, newsprint, and charcoal on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.