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White flag

Painting, 1955, 198.9×306.7 cm

Description of the artwork «White flag»

Even long before Jasper Johns became a hermit and began to avoid the company of other people, he rarely gave any comments to his work. However, in the 50s, when he began to create his famous series of flags, the artist explained how he came up with this idea. Jones saw a dream in which he painted an American flag, and the next day he set to work. The creation of the first flag, the artist took about two years, and from that work was born a series of various images of the subject, familiar to every American almost since birth.

Speaking about his flags and those of the later cycle with images lettersand numbers Jones noted that they share one feature: we see them every day but never considered. Very few people would have thought to admire the beauty of numbers, or details to look at each letter of the alphabet. We automatically read the information carried by these symbols, without considering each of them separately. As for the American flag, he in many decades, managed to turn from a Patriotic symbol in one of the most popular and banal "background" images, where no delayed sight.

"White flag" - the big picture from this series and the first monochrome. Practically depriving the image, the colors and leaving just a hint of the shades, Jones demonstrates that even in this form, the American flag remains recognizable. In addition, with the help of this technique, the artist focuses the viewer's attention not on what is depicted on the canvas, and how it is made. In fact the "White flag" is not a painting, and collage. The painting is composed of three panels: one with stars and one with seven lanes to the right of the stars, and the large, with stripes at the bottom. Over each part of the picture Jones worked separately: completely covering the canvas with a layer of unbleached beeswax, it has formed on it the picture of scraps of Newspapers, paper and pieces of fabric, pre-dipping them in melted wax. Then the artist has combined all three of the canvas and covered them with inks of the same beeswax mixed with pigments. The final touch was the application of an uneven layer of white oil paint. The complexity of the work in the encaustic technique lies in the fact that such paints are fast enough to stiffen, but this approach allowed Jones to form a three-dimensional, heterogeneous space of the painting.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Style of art: Pop Art

Technique: Oil, Encaustic

Materials: Canvas, Paper, Fabric

Date of creation: 1955

Size: 198.9×306.7 cm

Artwork in selections: 4 selections

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