After meeting Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, aged 24, had one of the most successful intuitions of modern art. Duchamp had introduced the ready mades in artistic creation. Johns will remove the object under its own appearance.
The three colors of the American flag are to Johns an incentive for new art. His flags identical to the official pieces are painted on all kinds of materials including newspapers.
Like Cézanne, he works within the contours as in a cloisonné. Unlike Pollock and Rothko, the first meticulous gesture must be the right one. Any dripping is therefore intentional, which requires a fast drying : Johns painted in wax.
Leo Castelli understands how much the art can be changed by this innovation. Favoring the material instead of shape and color, Johns anticipates Manzoni's achromes and Ryder's white on white while his treatment of a recognizable object is announcing the pop art.
Castelli owned until his death in 1999 one of the earliest Flags by Johns. It was sold in private sale to Steve Cohen in March 2010. Details were not released but the price of $ 110M has not been denied.
On November 11 in New York, Sotheby's sells a small Flag 30 x 45 cm, lot 9 estimated $ 15M. Painted in 1983, it is a rare example of encaustic painting on an actual silk flag mounted on canvas. Its regular configuration in 6 rows of 8 stars was obsolete since 1959, confirming that the process of Johns is much more artistic than patriotic.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's.