Jasper Johns 50th Anniversary Whitney Museum Poster AP537

From the collection of Si Litvinoff. One of the most famous museum posters of all time, marking a great milestone in American art.

Lithograph Poster 46.00 x 30.00 in 116.8 x 76.2 cmm Edition of 5000 Framed.

This work is unsigned and unnumbered Two Flags (Whitney Anniversary) © 1980 Jasper Johns and Gemini G.E.L.

Price on request.

Jasper Johns (born May 15, 1930) is an American painter and printmaker. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns spent his early life in Allendale, South Carolina, with his paternal grandparents after his parents’ marriage failed. He then spent a year living with his mother in Columbia, South Carolina, and thereafter he spent several years living with his aunt Gladys in Lake Murray, South Carolina, twenty-two miles from Columbia. He completed Edmunds High School (class of 1947) in Sumter, South Carolina, where he once again lived with his mother.Recounting this period in his life, he once said, “In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art, so I really didn’t know what that meant. I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different than the one that I was in.” Johns studied a total of three semesters at the University of South Carolina, from 1947 to 1948. He then moved to New York City and studied briefly at the Parsons School of Design in 1949. In 1952 and 1953 he was stationed in Sendai, Japan, during the Korean War.

In 1954, after returning to New York, Johns met Robert Rauschenberg and they became long-term lovers. For a time they lived in the same building as Rachel Rosenthal. In the same period he was strongly influenced by the gay couple Merce Cunningham (a choreographer) and John Cage (a composer). Working together they explored the contemporary art scene, and began developing their ideas on art. In 1958, gallery owner Leo Castelli discovered Johns while visiting Rauschenberg’s studio. Castelli gave him his first solo show. It was here that Alfred Barr, the founding director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, purchased four works from this show. In 1963, Johns and Cage founded Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, now known as Foundation for Contemporary Arts in New York City.

In 1980 the Whitney Museum of American Art paid $1 million for Three Flags (1958), then the highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist. In 1988, Johns’ False Start was sold at auction at Sotheby’s to Samuel I. Newhouse, Jr. for $17.05 million, setting a record at the time as the highest price paid for a work by a living artist at auction, and the second highest price paid for an artwork at auction in the U.S. In 2006, private collectors Anne and Kenneth Griffin (founder of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel LLC) bought False Start (1959) from David Geffen for $80 million, making it the most expensive painting by a living artist. On November 11, 2014, a 1983 version of Flag was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York for $36 million, establishing a new auction record for Johns.