The most comprehensive study of Jasper Johns’ work to date, Including never before exhibited works and a new monograph is to be published by The Wildenstein Plattner Institute (WPI). The five-volume publication was announced for release in April 2017. Produced in close collaboration with the artist and developed over more than a decade, the catalogue raisonné is authored by Roberta Bernstein, pre-eminent scholar of Johns’s work, who led a team of researchers including Heidi Colsman-Freyberger, Senior Researcher; Betsy Stepina Zinn, Editor; and Caitlin Sweeney, Senior Research Associate, who also oversees research projects at the WPI.
The WPI will debut its publishing imprint with the release of this publication, which was initiated and supported by Guy Wildenstein, co-founder of the WPI. Publicly launched in November 2016, the WPI is a new foundation dedicated to art historical scholarship by fostering the accessibility, cataloguing, and digitization of primary sources, including the development of catalogue raisonné projects.
“Jasper Johns is among the world’s most influential living artists, who has been a pioneer in contemporary art for over six decades,” said Elizabeth Gorayeb, Executive Director of the WPI. “It is a privilege to debut the WPI’s imprimatur with this singular publication. The impressive level of scholarship exemplified by this project signifies the quality and scope of the WPI’s future initiatives, and it will continue to be our standard bearer.”
For more than 60 years Jasper Johns has remained a compelling and influential figure in contemporary art. His best-known and most widely influential work—depictions of everyday objects and signs such as flags, targets, flashlights, and lightbulbs, as well as his first sculptures of household objects such as Flashlights, Light Bulbs, and Ale Cans—represented a shift in art of the 1950s by introducing subject matter that stood in contrast to the prevailing style of Abstract Expressionism. In subsequent decades, Johns’s art has increasingly engaged issues of memory, mortality, love, loss, creativity, doubt, anxiety, eroticism, wonder, childhood, and aging, often incorporating references to admired artistic predecessors.
This definitive publication documents the body of painting and sculpture made by Johns from 1954 to 2014. The set is introduced by an illustrated monograph, authored by Bernstein, that surveys Johns’s 60-year artistic career and represents the most comprehensive examination of the artist’s work to date. Volumes 2 and 3 are dedicated to Johns’s 355 paintings, and the fourth volume comprises his 86 sculptures. A significant number of works have never or rarely been exhibited. Each work is thoroughly documented and illustrated with a full-page reproduction, nearly all of which are in color and were commissioned expressly for this publication. The set is bookended by a volume encompassing a biographical chronology of the artist’s life with photographs, record of destroyed works, comprehensive history of 900 exhibitions, literature references for each work, and a bibliography of 1,300 titles. Printed by Trifolio in Verona, Italy, and distributed by Yale University Press, the five volumes of Catalogue Raisonné of the Painting and Sculpture of Jasper Johns are boxed with a clothbound slipcase. The catalogue will be available for pre-order through Yale University Press, Ursus, and Amazon.com.
“My interests as a scholar of Johns’s art remain focused on describing its progression—how it links to the past and moves into uncharted artistic territory,“ said Bernstein. “A catalogue raisonné is the perfect vehicle to present how an artist’s body of work unfolds over time. I have remained fascinated with how Johns’s art continues to yield an extraordinary richness of intellectual, psychological, and visual engagement when seen from this viewpoint.”
Roberta Bernstein has written and lectured extensively on Jasper Johns and other contemporary artists, including Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Marisol Escobar. Bernstein is author ofJasper Johns’ Paintings and Sculptures, 1954–1974: “The Changing Focus of the Eye,” UMI Research Press, (1985), which is regarded as among the most significant studies of the first 20 years of the artist’s career, andSeeing a Thing Can Sometimes Trigger the Mind to Make Another Thing, a catalogue essay for Jasper Johns: A Retrospective, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1996). Bernstein is professor emeritus of art history at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Heidi Colsman-Freyberger has worked at the Museum of Modern Art, in commercial galleries, as Robert Motherwell’s secretary and curator, and as a freelance editor for Harry N. Abrams and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her catalogue raisonné projects include editing Egon Schiele (Harry N. Abrams, 1990) and compiling Barnett Newman (Yale University Press, 2004); she is now executive director of the Barnett Newman Foundation.