image, 39 3/4 x 29 1/2in (101 x 74.9cm)
Gift of Mrs. Jerry Lawson
Challenging the division between fine art and mass culture, Jasper Johns incorporates recognizable imagery such as targets, the American flag, and Ballantine beer cans into his work. This monumental lithograph featuring a Savarin Coffee can filled with paintbrushes is also laden with enigmatic symbolism relating to the work of expressionist painter Edvard Munch. Accompanied by Munch's initials (E.M.), the red arm print directly references Munch's lithograph Self-Portrait with Skeleton Art from 1895. Johns' living arm replaces the skeletal arm found in Munch's original composition. Johns also replaces Munch's likeness with the iconic Savarin can. It stands promininently against a background of cross-hatched marks whose pattern derives from another Munch self-portrait. Johns' composition may be interpreted as a metaphorical self-portrait with the can of brushes signifying the artist and his working life.
© Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Jasper Johns (American, b.1930)