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Numbers in Color

Jasper Johns (American, born 1930). Numbers in Color, 1958–59. Encaustic and newspaper on canvas, 66 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches (168.9 x 125.7 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1959 (K1959:10). © Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Numbers in Color

© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Numbers in Color

© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Jasper Johns

American, born 1930

Numbers in Color, 1958-1959

encaustic and newspaper on canvas

support: 66 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches (168.91 x 125.73 cm); framed: 74 1/2 x 57 x 3 7/8 inches (189.23 x 144.78 x 9.84 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1959

K1959:10

Collection Highlight

More Details

Inscriptions

no inscriptions

Provenance

Leo Castelli Inc.;
sold to the Albright Art Gallery, March 20, 1959

Class

Paintings

Work Type

Encaustic painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Jasper Johns’s earliest paintings depict common, easily recognizable images like targets and flags—emblems we do not generally study in great detail. We are, however, expected to stop and look at paintings. Johns employed this paradox to force viewers to rethink the meaning of not only art but also what it represents. In many of his compositions, he included familiar symbols and systems that are used to create order in the world, such as numbers and maps. Numerals—from zip codes to social security identification—organize our lives in a variety of ways but are, in fact, only ideas; they are not tangible things. For Johns, ubiquitous subjects allowed him to focus on other aspects of the work, such as medium and surface. To create Numbers in Color he used encaustic, an ancient painting method in which pigment is dissolved in hot wax. Furthermore, Johns embedded pieces of newspaper in the encaustic. While these fragments add depth and texture, they also refer to concrete objects and events in the real world. Yet, the text has been rendered illegible.

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