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Jasper Johns / George Seurat


February 15 – April 12, 2008

Jasper Johns, Flag, 1959.
Georges Seurat, Condolences; Family Gathering, 1885-86.

Press Release

NEW YORK – Craig F. Starr Associates is pleased to announce the opening of Jasper Johns / Georges Seurat Drawings, which runs from February 15 - April 12. The show features pencil and conte crayon drawings by Johns and Seurat, highlighting the parallel mastery of draftsmanship and aesthetic aims of two artists separated by almost a century.

Georges Seurat (1859-1891) is acclaimed for the remarkable array of extraordinary conte crayon drawings he produced of contemporary subjects throughout his career, which was tragically cut short by illness in March 1891. In these drawings Seurat covers richly textured sheets of laid paper to their absolute edges. His images emerge through masses of short cross-hatching strokes, meandering tangles of loops, and areas where Seurat rubbed crayon across the surface in varying pressures to create gradations in tone from the lightest gray to the deepest black.

Similarly, the drawings of Jasper Johns are densely worked with a variety of marks. Cross-hatchings, squiggles, and applications of wash create a screen that simultaneously obscures as it reveals the drawing’s motif. Because Johns’ motifs are familiar objects and symbols of the everyday world – flags, numbers, targets – they remain recognizable even in the drawings that approach tonal uniformity. As in Seurat’s drawings, a dynamic visual experience is created by the interplay between what is drawn and how it is drawn.

The show features Seurat’s exquisite Lady in Black (ca. 1882) and Condolences; Family Gathering (1885-86), as well as Jasper Johns’ densely worked Tango (1956), Alphabets (1957), Study for ‘Painting with a Ball’ (1958), and Flag (1959), among others.

The show is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Richard Shiff.