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Jasper Johns
Fool's House

1972

About the Item

Jasper Johns Fool's House, 1972 10 color lithograph on Angoumois à la Main handmade paper on a single lithographic stone with an aluminum etching plate Pencil signed and numbered from the limited edition of 67; bears printer and publisher's blind stamp (there were nine artists proofs) Printed and published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, with master printers Serge Lozingot and Kenneth Tyler, with the blind stamp lower right Catalogue Raisonne Ref: Field 154 and Gemini G.E.L. 348 "Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it." - Jasper Johns "Fool's House" is one of the most admired and discussed Jasper Johns prints to emerge from the 1970s. It was based upon his eponymous 1962 painting, which was part of the Castelli Collection and subsequently on longterm loan to the Walker Art Center. (The original painting is 3-D as it features a real old broom with bent bristles mounted on a canvas with gray oil paint and stenciling behind it.) The author of EPPH ("Every Painter Paints Himself: Art Masterpieces Explained") writes of the original 1962 "Fool's House" painting: "The household broom has clearly "painted" a large part of its own canvas as the arc of its brush-stroke, visible on either side of its bristles, makes clear. It is Johns' "paintbrush" even though labeled "broom" in the artist's handwriting near the bottom of its shaft. Below it too are other studio objects - a towel, stretcher and cup - all similarly labeled with arrows pointing to the corresponding object. The labels have generated much discussion about the use of names in art.." The reference in "Fool's House" to Duchamp and the ooncept of the "ready made" is apparent, as here Johns takes the household broom, hangs it in the artist's studio and assigns it a different purpose altogether - one it has already partially fulfilled. (Works like the present one would cause some people to refer to Johns as a Neo-Dadaist, because it bridges the gap between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. There's also a nod to Surrealism in the composition, with the text labels near the objects recalling Magritte's 1930 "Ceci N'es Pas Une Pipe.") The present work (and of course the original painting) is also explicitly autobiographical, as the "Fool's House" references the artist's studio, where he can commandeer any ordinary household object - like a broom - and, literally and figuratively, incorporate it into the artmaking process. There's also a bit of self-deprecating existential angst, as the artist's paintbrush is replaced by an object used to sweep up the trash, and his studio is a "Fool's House" - because, perhaps, only a fool would be in this line of work. (Remember, the year before Johns' "Fool's House" painting, he created an ironic and cynical send-up of art critics entitled "The Critic Sees" - featuring two myopic eyes.) There is also, paradoxically, a bit of secret swagger in "Fool's House", because Johns might have anticipated that his broom, just like Duchamp's urinal, would be destined to become a masterpiece. The original 1962 painting was a classic example of art about art; A decade later, Jasper Johns' 1972 "Fools House" lithograph is also art about art that is about art - as it re-visits the artist's earlier 3-D painting and translates it into a different medium - a 2D graphic work on paper. While much was changed during the translation of the work into an editioned lithograph, the central composition is preserved, featuring the broom hanging from a hook, and a coffee cup hanging beyond the bounds of the 'canvas' - but in the lithograph, the cup dangles beyond the framed area of the print and onto its margins. "Fool's House" is an important Jasper Johns graphic work that is increasingly scarce as so many other examples are already in the permanent collections of major public and private institutions. Measurements: Framed: 50.5 inches x 36.5 inches x 1.5 inches Artworks: 43 inches x 29.25 inches
  • Creator:
    Jasper Johns (1930, American)
  • Creation Year:
    1972
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 43 in (109.22 cm)Width: 29.25 in (74.3 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
    Excellent; not examined outside of original vintage frame but appears fine: A superb, richly inked impression with strong colors. Ships framed.
  • Gallery Location:
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU1745213923572
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