Jasper Johns, ‘Flag (Moratorium)’, 1969, Heritage Auctions
Jasper Johns, ‘Flag (Moratorium)’, 1969, Heritage Auctions
Jasper Johns, ‘Flag (Moratorium)’, 1969, Heritage Auctions

This work remains one of the most captivating and powerful images of the anti-Vietnam war movement. The image was commissioned to commemorate the anti-war Moratorium Marches that occurred in the fall of 1969 throughout the US. This work symbolizes the horrors of the Vietnam war; from the Agent Orange-esque coloring of the stars, to the deathly green Army camouflage of the stripes, to the singular white bullet hole in the center. Initially a patriotic image, this work subverts the power of the American government and encapsulates the political feelings of the time. Additionally, this work shows Jasper John’s fixture and exploration of optical illusions. By focusing on the center white dot for 60 seconds and then looking away at a blank white wall, the viewer should see the familiar color scheme of the American flag. —Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Signature: Signed and numbered in pencil.

Image rights: Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Publisher: The Committee Against the War in Vietnam


About Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns's ongoing stylistic and technical experimentation place him at the forefront of American art. His richly textured paintings of maps, flags, numbers, and targets laid the groundwork for Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. In New York in the 1950s, Johns was part of a community of artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, seeking an alternative to the emotional nature of Abstract Expressionism. Influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Johns's early work paired the concerns of craft with familiar concrete imagery. His interest in process also led to innovations in lithography, screen-printing, etching and woodblock, using such materials as pencil, pen, brush, crayon, wax, and plaster to constantly challenge the technical possibilities of printmaking.

American, b. 1930, Augusta, Georgia, based in New York, New York