Jasper Johns (American, born Augusta, Georgia, 1930)
Etchings with aquatint
26 1/4 x 19 1/8 in. (66.7 x 48.6 cm)
Purchase, Reba and Dave Williams Gift, 1999
Not on view
These four prints of The Seasons explore artifacts and seasonal symbols to represent the epochs of life and the cycles of growth and aging. The works review many motifs used previously in Johns's work - e.g. the arm in a partial circle rotates like a clock through these panels. Optical illusions such as duck/rabbit or old woman/young woman in "Spring" explore the nature of seeing and experience. In "Fall," a profile of Marcel Duchamp (a spiritual and artistic mentor to Johns) is included next to a skull and crossbones from a Swiss sign warning of avalanche danger, a reminder of mortality. The Seasons also incorporates elements of more reflective imagery that emerged in his work in the 1980s. A scaled down version of the artist's own shadow refers to Johns's meditation on his own path.
private collection (until 1999; sale, Sotheby's, New York, November 6, 1999, no. 1126, sold to MMA)
Judith Goldman. Jasper Johns: The Seasons. Exh. cat., Leo Castelli Gallery. New York, 1987, unpaginated, discusses the artist's paintings for "The Seasons" cycle and reproduces published versions of the "Summer" and "Winter" etchings.
Mark Rosenthal. Jasper Johns: Work Since 1974. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1988, pp. 89, 94–97, 102–3.
James Cuno inJasper Johns: Printed Symbols. Exh. cat., Walker Art Center. Minneapolis, 1990, pp. 78, 83–89, ill. pp. 79–82 (color) (Walker Art Center collection).
Roberta Bernstein. Jasper Johns: The Seasons. Exh. cat., Brooke Alexander Editions. New York, 1991, pp. 9–12, nos. 13–16, ill. pp. 20–23 (color) (not this edition).
Richard S. Field. The Prints of Jasper Johns, 1960–1993, A Catalogue Raisonné. West Islip, N.Y., 1994, unpaginated, nos. 238–41, ill. (color), calls it "The Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter)".