Nov 2, 2020
News

A Jasper Johns print worth $1 million was donated to the British Museum.

Jasper Johns's Flags I, 1973. Courtesy the British Museum.

Jasper Johns's Flags I, 1973. Courtesy the British Museum.

An edition of Jasper Johns’s Flags I (1973) was donated to the British Museum by New York–based collectors Johanna and Leslie Garfield. The print, which is part of an edition of 65, is estimated to be worth at least $1 million. It was exhibited at the museum in 2017, as part of its exhibition “The American Dream: Pop to the Present.”
Catherine Daunt, the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary graphic art, told The Guardian:
This is a hugely important print. It is beautiful, complex and technically a great achievement. We now have 16 works by Johns in the collection, all of which are outstanding in their own way, but visually this is undoubtedly the most spectacular. It came to symbolise not just that exhibition but our growing and very good collection of American prints at the British Museum.
The print features one of Johns’s signature motifs, the American flag, replicated side-by-side. Johns collaborated with veteran printmakers at Simca Print Artists in New York to produce the work, crafting thirty-one separate screens in fifteen colors in order to create subtle variations in brightness and markings between the two flags. Johns highlighted these differences by placing a layer of varnish on the right-most flag, creating a glossy sheen in contrast to matte finish of the left-most flag.
According to Artsy data, the number of inquiries on the artist’s prints steadily increased, year over year, from 2014 through 2019. Inquiries in 2020 are on track to match or slightly surpass 2019 levels.

Further Reading: Why Jasper Johns Is an Icon of 20th-Century Painting