Born in the U.S. in 1930, Jasper Johns is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker par excellence. He began his career as a commercial artist, producing displays for New York shop windows. In 1958, however, he had his first one-man exhibition and it proved to be a great success. As his style developed, his subject matter of flags, numbers and targets, painted with heavy impasto on canvas, helped to lay the groundwork for Minimalism and Pop art. With his community of fellow artists – and most importantly with Robert Rauschenberg – he sought to move beyond the emotion of Abstract Expressionism and into a more intellectual realm in which seemingly banal subjects were transformed through the attention placed upon them.
Johns’ ascent to worldwide recognition led to a major retrospective of his work in 1997 at the Museum of Modern Art, and one year later, to the purchase of his White Flag by the Metropolitan Museum. In 2007, The National Gallery of Art acquired around 1,700 of Johns’ proofs, which is the largest number of his works held by a single institution. Today his work can be found in major museums worldwide.