METAPHOR AS MANIFESTATION
 
In 1976 the painter Jasper Johns and poet Samuel Beckett collaborated on the production of
Foirades/Fizzles, an illustrated livre de lux consisting of five short essays and thirty-five etchings and aquatints. The collaboration was a highly unusual project for both the artist and the writer. Perhaps equally fascinating was the project on which Robert Motherwell and Rafael Alberti collaborated between 1980 and 1983, which included a short poem dedicated to Motherwell by Alberti, and nineteen lithographs created by Motherwell in response. Though it might be more of a reactionary effort by the painter and the poet than a true collaboration, it was admiration for each other’s work that led to the livre de peintre known as El Negro Motherwell. It was, in fact, not a true collaboration for either project by Johns and Beckett or Motherwell and Alberti — it was a cooperative effort in each case and the result was an exploration of new ground in the creation of artist’s books known as livre d’artiste.
 
The nineteen lithographs by Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) included in this exhibition are a direct result of the artist’s response to a poem written to Motherwell in 1980 by the Spanish poet and painter Rafael Alberti (1902-1999). Jack Flam, in his preface to the book
El Negro Motherwell, published in 1983 by Tyler Graphics, Ltd., states that the body of work evolved as the result of a dialogue between Motherwell and Alberti. According to Flam, “Motherwell chanced upon a copy of Rafael Alberti’s Selected Poems (about 1967) and was especially struck by Alberti’s brilliant and moving cycle of poems in homage to the art of painting…”
 
In 1972, Motherwell produced a series of etchings based on Rafael Alberti’s poem
A la pintura; however, it was not until 1980 that the two actually met, when Motherwell visited Spain to attend the opening of a large retrospective exhibition of his paintings in Madrid. Alberti, who had been an exiled Spanish Loyalist during the nearly forty years of Franco’s reign in Spain, had returned to his homeland to live out the remainder of his life. At the preliminary program preceding the exhibition opening, Alberti came forward and “in an electrifying voice read a poem, El Negro Motherwell, that he had written especially for the occasion.” Motherwell was deeply affected by the experience, and in the months that followed, he worked to produce the series of lithographs included in this exhibition to serve as a fitting response to Alberti’s poem.
 
Motherwell’s work often evoked themes that related to the Spanish Civil War, and this was no doubt of great interest to Alberti. Flam points out that the two men were able to relate to each other, “united by the intimacy of shared values and shared vision.” Motherwell was, of course, no stranger to writing about painting, and Flam brings to our attention that Alberti was not only a poet but also a painter.
 
For Motherwell, the moral struggle emitted by the Spanish Civil War provided that basis of one of the central metaphors of his art. The civil war in Spain was seen by many, including Motherwell, as the start of an international struggle against Fascism. For Motherwell, the tragic consequences of the Spanish Civil War became a vehicle for exploring archetypal themes of freedom and loss in his art. Much of his art related to themes of the Spanish Civil War. In 1948, Motherwell painted the first in a series entitled
To The Spanish Republic. In fact, the elegy series spanned Motherwell’s entire career, from 1948 to 1991.
 
In 1976, the American Pop artist Jasper Johns (1930-    ) produced his
livre d’artiste (artist book), Foirades/Fizzles in collaboration with Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), the Irish-born poet, novelist and playwright who lived in Paris and composed his verses in French. The collaboration between Johns and Beckett was quite unusual insofar as éditions de luxe are concerned. Beckett’s contribution to the project included five short stories while Johns produced thirty black-and-white and three color etchings. Neither Beckett nor Johns had any idea of what the other would contribute to the book, which might define the project as not being a true collaboration in the traditional sense.
 
The majority of Johns’ images are based on his painting
Untitled, 1972, [Museum Ludwig, Cologne] which includes of all of the elements (hatching patterns, flagstones, body parts with casts and slats), used by Johns in creating his etchings. It is not as though Johns’ images sought to illustrate Beckett’s five short stories, but rather to be “the plastic equivalent” of the poet’s verse (as Matisse described his illustrations for his Florilége des Amours de Ronsard). Presented in French as well as English, Beckett’s stories and Johns’ images were conceived independently without knowledge of what the other was planning to contribute.
 
The brilliance of
Foirades/Fizzles lies in the creative qualities of the author and the artist, and the surprising realization that their independent works truly enhance each other’s in creating a rare consonance. Beckett’s verse is ideally suited to Johns’ images and interest. It is the ambiguity that secures the project’s overall success. In one sense it provides endless possibilities for interpretation and, at the same time little or no possibility for complete understanding. It is in fact incomplete as a whole without external influences or awareness of additional knowledge that may be harbored (and possibly only subconsciously) by Johns and Beckett.
 
The power of Beckett’s poetry stems from one of his central themes — the impossibility of man’s search for self. The following verses are an example:
 
“…there is nothing but what is said. Beyond what is said there is nothing. What goes on in the arena is not said. Did it need to be known it would be…” And, “…I should have voice, impossible I should have thoughts, and I speak and think, I do the impossible, it is not possible otherwise…”
 
Beckett’s writing is full of imagery for Johns. And it is not completely unlike some of his own descriptive statements: “Take an object. Do something with it. Do something else with it.” and, “Make something, a kind of object, which as it changes… offers no clue as to what its state or form or nature was at any previous time.” Both statements seem appropriate in gaining some perspective on the understanding of
Foirades/Fizzles.
 
At first it may seem unusual that these two artists should be included in an exhibition that focuses on independent philosophical viewpoints and artistic concerns. Johns, the leader to the generation that “dethroned the Abstract Expressionists,” and Motherwell, one of the leaders and principal exponents of Abstract Expressionism, are being understood, as Beckett writes “…little by little (as) his (own) history takes shape…”
 
 
Reilly Rhodes
Curator
Contemporary & Modern Print Exhibitions


This Collection of two leading contemporary American Icons is currently Touring Nationally. They can be viewed at Wolfgang Puck’s Restauarant on El Paseo in Palm Desert, USA. Previous Exhibition sites include Witchita Art Museum, Cornell Museum of Art, Universtiy of Kentucky Museum of Art, Montgomery Museum of the Arts, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Mitchell Gallery/ St. John’s College, Pensacola Museum of Modern Art (2017).

“Poetic works as a metaphor focuses on the collaborative efforts between the artists Robert Motherwell and Jasper Johns and poets Rafael Alberti and Samuel Beckett who shared their creative visions to create a bold, contrasting pairing of visual and literary art forms that aims to fashion an awareness of language while unearthing the complexities of the human mind.” —
The Wichita Eagle, Jason Dilts

JASPER JOHNS
(American b. 1930), Pop and Conceptual painter and printmaker, helped unseat the Abstract Expressionist movement in the 1960’s. Strongly influenced by Robert Rauschenberg. Considered by many to be the best printmaker in modern times.

ROBERT MOTHERWELL (American 1915-1991), One of the founders and last surviving members of the Abstract Expressionist movement in painting.

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    1. Robert Motherwell

     

    1. El Negro - Motherwell - Rafael Alberti, 1981-83 Front End Leaf: El Negro Motherwell 15 1/4 x 26 in. lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in red and black Motherwell’s design for the front end page of the artist book was created to illuminate a poem written by the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti (1902-1999) titled El Negro Motherwell. In 1980, upon meeting the painter for the first time, Alberti recited the poem aloud for Motherwell at the opening of a major retrospective of the artist’s works in Barcelona. The artist book, or livre d’artiste as it is known, emerged at the turn of the nineteenth century as a distinctive new genre of illustrated book that combined literature and original works of art on paper. El Negro Motherwell was Published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., with the workshop watermark in the paper; a small edition of 51 plus 10 artist's proofs were produced in 1983.
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    2. Robert Motherwell

     

    2. Negro, 1983 Black 15 1/4 x 15 in. Illustration for the verse that reads: El Negro Motherwell el profundo compacto entrado de la noche Motherwell black Deep compact night arrived lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in ochre, red and black Framed together with: Mourning, 1983 Duelo lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in ochre, red and black Printed on folded pages, Motherwell incorporated the words air, esquel and Mourning in reference to Alberti's verses calling attention to tragedies of the Spanish civil war. Alberti liked using metaphors in his poetry such as: vendas negras del brazo (black arm bands), que están de luto (mourning), and obituarios (obituaries).
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    4. Robert Motherwell

     

    4. Elegy Black Black, 1982-83 Negro Negro Elegia 15 1/4 x 38 in. lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in blue, opaque white and black Illustration for the verse that reads: Negro negro elegia negro con sangre negro coagulado con la cal de los huesos recortando las formas Elegy black black Black with blood coagulated black With the white lime of bones outlining forms Motherwell compared the process of creating his Elegies to constructing a sacred altar. What began as “artful scribbling’ took on a grave religious aura. The Elegies became a way for Motherwell to achieve two decisive goals: to remain true to abstraction and to permit him to express his feelings and emotions about something he intensely believed in.
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    5. Robert Motherwell

     

    5. Black Banners, 1981-83 Bamdas de Lùto 15 5/16 x 14 7/8 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black Illustration for the verse that reads: Bandas de lùto negros estandartes Arm bands of mourning Black banners
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    6. Robert Motherwell

     

    6. Black of the Echo, 1981-83 El Eco la negro 15 1/8 x 26 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black Illustration for the verse that reads: Negros hoyos brocales para el grito negro del eco que devuelve negro de aguas paralizadas Black holes gaping for the shriek Black of the echo returning black Of motionless waters
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    7. Robert Motherwell

     

    7. Eternal Black, 1981-83 la Negro Eternal 15 1/4 x 14 7/8 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black Illustration for the verse that reads: Negro de este pais de negro siempre Black of this land of eternal black Motherwell was intensely literary and internationally minded. He was well aware of many injustices in the world. In 1937 when the Spanish civil war erupted, Motherwell became sympathetic to the needs and struggles of the people that largely made up the revolutionist movement against Franco’s fascist government. In truth, the Spanish civil war was not well understood by the rest of the world nor was it given accurate news media attention. Inspired by the writings of Ferderico Garcia Lorca, the great Spanish poet, Motherwell began his “elegies” to mourn the victims of the civil war, and it was later that Rafael Alberti responded to the painter with his poem El Negro Motherwell.
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    8. Robert Motherwell

     

    8. Black Wall of Spain! 1981-83 Negro Muro de España 15 5/16 x 37 3/4 in. lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in ochre, red and black Illustration for the verse that reads: O negro muro de España! Oh black wall of Spain! With the outbreak of the Spanish civil war in 1936, the Chilian poet Pablo Neruda got involved in the heroic resistance against the fascist forces. He was dismissed from his consular post for his involvement and his poet friends became targets of fascist attacks. Rafael Alberti's house was torched and García Lorca was assassinated. Alberti returned to Spain after the death of the dictator Franco and in 1980 he attended an opening preview at a retrospective exhibition for Motherwell in Barcelona. Alberti approached the artist and cried out the words of his poem: “Oh black wall of Spain!” as a sign of devotion to the painter whom he had never met.
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    9. Robert Motherwell

     

    9. Airless Black, 1981-83 la Negro Airless 15 3/8 x 25 7/8 in. lithograph from two aluminum plates printed in ochre and black Illustration for the verse that reads: Negro esquelas estáticos sin aire Obituaries black stationary airless During a six month period working in Mexico under the wing of the South American born Surrealist painter Roberto Matta, Motherwell formed an appreciation for the Mexican people and their culture. He said that he was gripped by the vitality of death in the Latin American country, the way it engulfed everything—the presence of death iconography everywhere: coffins, black glass-enclosed horse-drawn hearses, skulls, figures of death, Posada, All Soul’s Day, women dressed in black, cypress trees in cemeteries, burning candles and many other things. The omnipresence of death marked Motherwell for life. It was present in his work, particularly his strongest images.
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    10. Robert Motherwell

     

    10. Black Concentrated, 1981-83 Negro Concentrado 15 1/4 x 37 3/16 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black Illustration for the verse that reads: Dolor de negro concentrado angustia Pain of black concentrated anguish Edward Hirsch writes that Motherwell liked to speculate that there were six basic types of “families” of painting-minds, and that these different families would from time to time rise to prominence at different historical moments. Motherwell believed also that he belonged to a family of ‘black’ painters that included Manet, Goya, Miro, Matisse and Picasso. Hirsch feels that there is no doubt that Motherwell wanted to aspire to be a part of this group of painters who used black as a color to achieve completeness of a subject.
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    11. Robert Motherwell

     

    11. Black in Black, 1981-83 Negro en Negro 15 1/4 x 15 1/16 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black Illustration for the verse that reads: Contraido tirante negro en negro núcleo negro expandido negro del revés negro Tense taut black in black Black blot exploded Black of the black back Motherwell responded profoundly to Rafael Alberti’s poem A la pintura (To Painting) written and dedicated to Picasso who applied tones of black and gray to his painting Guernica while expressing his outrage over the German air raid on the Basque town in northern Spain during the early days of the Spanish civil war. Motherwell was especially awed with the poet’s evocation of what he termed Spanish black. In Motherwell’s early Elegies (1948-59), he exhibited several dark works with forms and shapes that would reappear in his work from time to time for the rest of his life. The Spanish civil war is never directly described or detailed in his paintings. According to Edward Hirsch, Motherwell’s images—always suggestive, oblique, metaphorical create a “contest between pigments (the blacks that absorb light and the whites that reflect it) takes on the aura of an imaginative struggle between life and death…”
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    12. Robert Motherwell

     

    12. Forever Black, 1981-83 en Permanencia Negro 15 1/4 x 37 7/8 in. lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in ochre, red and black Illustration for the verse that reads: En permanencia negro Motherwell redoble Forever Motherwell black drumbeat To Motherwell, the color black embodied the dark side of his imagination and he felt that it animated Spanish art. Often he said that he felt closer to the art of Goya than to the Impressionists.
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    13. Robert Motherwell

     

    13. Invisible Stab, 1981-83 Puñalada Invisible 15 1/2 x 14 7/8 in. lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in blue, red and black Illustration for the verse that reads: Atravesado negro puñalada invisible Pierced black invisible stab
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    14. Robert Motherwell

     

    14. Black Lament, 1982-83 Lamento Negro 15 1/4 x 25 15/16 in. lithograph from six aluminum plates printed in blue-gray, green-black, red-black, ochre and red Illustration for the verse that reads: Llanto negro sin fin negro callado Black lament endless mute black
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    15. Robert Motherwell

     

    15. Black With No Way Out, 1983 No Way Negro 15 3/8 x 37 7/8 in. lithograph from two aluminum plates printed in red and black Illustration for the verse that reads: Negro espanta sin fondo negro lengua cortada sin respuesta o penetrado negro sin salida posible Fright black bottomless Tongue black cut without answer Or penetrated black with no way out The shapes and forms that Motherwell created for El Negro Motherwell convey a deep sense of physical anguish, of love and death. They have great metaphoric power and have often been described as monumental works of art. The celebrated poet Edward Hirsch has made reference to the Spanish elegies as “the hide of Spain with sensuous and austere presence as a protagonist in a tragic drama.”
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    16. Robert Motherwell

     

    16. Gypsy Curse, 1983 Reniego Gitano 15 1/4 x 14 15/16 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black on handmade red Monki paper, Chine appliqué Illustration for the verse that reads: Negro de maldición gitana irremediable Black of gypsy curse incurable
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    17. Robert Motherwell

     

    17. Black Undone by Tears, 1983 Las Lágrimas Negras y Deshacer 15 3/4 x 14 15/16 in. lithograph from aluminum plate printed in black on buff handmade Kitakata paper, Chine appliqué Illustration for the verse that reads: Yo puedo entrar en ti negro deshecho en lágrimas I can enter you black undone by tears
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    18. Robert Motherwell

     

    18. Through Black Emerge Purified, 1982-83 Por El Negro Emertger Purificad 15 1/8 x 37 7/8 in. lithograph from three aluminum plates printed in blue, red and black Illustration for the verse that reads: Por el negro salir purificado Through black emerge purified In his 1980 poem homage, Rafael Alberti described Motherwell’s black as “a profound compact entered into with night” –- as a pact with the night. “I can enter you black dissolved in tears,” …“Through black emerge purified.”
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    19. Robert Motherwell

     

    19. Poor Spain, 1981-83 Por España 15 1/4 x 37 3/4 in. lithograph from two aluminum plates printed in red and black Illustration for the verse that reads: Por el motherwell negro España libre negro pobre España Through Motherwell black Spain free black Poor Spain!
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    20. Jasper Johns

     

    20. Hatching Pattern, 1976 Hachure Motif 11 9/16 x 18 5/16 in. Four-color aquatint (lift-ground) and drypoint in orange, green, violet, and white from four copper plates Front end leaf for Foirades/Fizzles, the artist book (livre d'artiste ) published in 1976 as a collaboration between Jasper Johns and poet/playwright Samuel Beckett. Johns based his designs on imagery he had already initiated in the painting Untitled, 1972, while Beckett selected five Fizzles (short stories), some of which had already been published in French and translated by Beckett in English.
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    21. Jasper Johns

     

    21. Numeral 1, 1976 Chiffre 1 (un) 9 3/16 x 6 15/16 Etching, soft-ground and drypoint Samuel Beckett allowed Johns to determine the order in which the five Fizzles would appear and to design how the words and etchings would be integrated in the livre d'artiste project.
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    22. Jasper Johns

     

    22. Face, 1976 Visage 10 7/8 x 8 3/8 in. Lift-ground aquatint, scraper and abrasive powder Johns uses the impression of his own face in this etching, to be followed by other body part impressions (hand and foot) as seen in catalog No. 45.
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    23. Jasper Johns

     

    23. Words (Buttock Knee Sock . . .), 1976 Des Mots (Fesse Genou Chaussette) 10 9/16 x 17 1/2 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint, and burnishing Samuel Beckett was born in Ireland in 1906. He was educated at the Portora Royal School and Trinity College, Dublin, where he took a B.A. degree in 1927, having specialized in French and Italian. Beckett worked as a teacher in Belfast and lecturer in English at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 1932 he quit teaching to devote his time entirely to writing. Beckett wrote much of his verse in French, saying that when he wrote in French it was easier to write "without style." His selected poems for Foirades/Fizzles, were aleady written, entirely in French, prior to his meeting with Johns to discuss the collaboration to produce the livres d’artistes (artist book). On the double sized sheet, the words Buttock Knee Sock appear on the left side in English, while the words on the right side (Fesse Genou Chaussette) are in French.
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    24. Jasper Johns

     

    24. Three Panels (ABCD), (BCDA), (CDAB), 1976 Trois jurys 2 13/16 x 7 3/8 in. Etching, soft-ground, lift-ground aquatint, and burnishing Four years prior to Foirades/Fizzles, Johns had completed his four-panel painting Untitled, 1972, on which he based his imagery for the collaboration with Samuel Beckett. The four panels (three of four illustrated here), each containing four sections of images: hatching, flagstones (a), flagstones (b), and casts, are rotated one panel or section in each succeeding panel. The second panel [flagstones (a), flagstones (b), casts, and hatching] is rotated in the third panel again [flagstones (b), casts, hatching, and finally, flagstones (b)].
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    25. Jasper Johns

     

    25. Numeral 2, 1976 Chiffre 2 (deux) 9 5/16 x 6 15/16 Etching, lift-ground aquatint, crayon stop-out, and open-bite
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    26. Jasper Johns

     

    26. Leg (a), 1976 Jambe 9 5/16 x 6 15/16 in. Etching, drypoint, open-bite, and burnishing The plaster cast leg was included in the fourth panel of Johns' painting and collage on canvas Untitled, 1972, and repeatedly used in the second section of Foirades/Fizzles. Four images appear in the book (three of which are included in this exhibition). Johns exercises his belief that one should try something with an object and then try something else. In Leg (a), he distributes dozens of hair-like marks throughout the field, while in Leg (b), there is an almost even background of black-tone. Leg (c) is almost void of activity except for the tone of the paper and the fine etched line depicting the form of the leg shape.
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    27. Jasper Johns

     

    27. Leg (b), 1976 Jambe 10 5/16 x 5 3/8 in. Etching and lift-ground aquatint
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    28. Jasper Johns

     

    28. Leg (c), 1976 Jambe 10 5/16 x 5 3/8 in. Etching
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    29. Jasper Johns

     

    29. Casts and Hatching, 1976 Plâtres et Hachure 10 11/16 x 14 3/16 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint, and open-bite In Casts and Hatching, Johns uses a double-page layout to separate his panels as he did in the painting Untitled, 1972, and in other works that followed. Andrew Bush in his essay:The Expanding Eye: The Allegory of Forgetting in Johns and Beckett, contends that "the whole of Fizzle 2 is poised between haut and bas (high and low)." In Beckett's writing there are moments of the same kind of relationships between figurative speech and disfiguration of thought as is Johns' treatment of his etchings with greater and lesser shadow, sometimes creating and covering hidden depths. The relationship between Johns' etchings and Beckett's text is itself allegorical.
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    30. Jasper Johns

     

    30. Hatching, 1976 Hachure 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint and burnishing This single-page etching consists of a motif from the first panel of Johns' painting Untitled, 1972. The two plates that follow Flagstones (a) correspond to panel B of Untitled, 1972, and Flagstones (b) corresponds to panel C of the same painting. The latter two plates underwent several revisions and changes before completion. More than six trial proofs were made of each before the final version.
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    31. Jasper Johns

     

    31. Flagstones (a), 1976 Flagstones 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint and burnishing
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    32. Jasper Johns

     

    32. Flagstones (b), 1976 Flagstones 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint and burnishing
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    33. Jasper Johns

     

    33. Numeral 3, 1976 Chiffre 3 (trois) 9 3/8 x 7 3/16 in. Stop-out varnishes over aquatint ground
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    34. Jasper Johns

     

    34. Torse, 1976 Torse 9 3/8 x 7 in. Photo-screen squeegeed onto plate, lift-ground aquatint, and open-bite The torso motif provides both a beginning and an end to Fizzle 3. Torse is by far the most illusionistic image of all the Johns' prints in this exhibition. With the application of a photoscreen stencil, Johns was able to literally reproduce the wax cast from which it was derived.
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    35. Jasper Johns

     

    35. Hatching and Flagstones, 1976 Hachure et Flagstones 10 3/4 x 14 1/4 in. Soft-ground etching, open-bite, and burnishing The Flagstone image was one that Johns said he had glimpsed on a wall while traveling through Harlem. On the opposite side of the page, the hatching motif is one that he had seen on a passing car while driving on Long Island. According to Andrew Bush (The Expanding Eye: The Allegory of Forgetting in Johns and Beckett ), the Hatching and Flagstones imagery records forgetting, and not memory--the recollection of a lost objet trouvé within Johns own mind is no more than a phantom or a fleeting fiction.
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    36. Jasper Johns

     

    36. Torso, 1976 Torse 9 5/16 x 7 1/16 in. Lift-ground aquatint By comparison with the positive image of Torse (catalog No. 34) which appears completely detailed by means of photo-screen transfer, the Torso image here is a negative empty space lacking detail. The former positive image captures the volumetric quality of the original torso cast as well as its surface of wax drippings, giving it a "fullness" while the later image leaves a feeling of "emptiness."
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    37. Jasper Johns

     

    37. Numeral 4, 1976 Chiffre 4 (quatre) 9 5/16 x 6 15/16 in. Lift-ground aquatint, stop-out crayon, and burnishing Fizzle 4 begins with a virtual caesura, the Numeral 4 presented as dark, monolithic, foreboding, and implacable. There were nine trial proofs made of this image, the first four with heavy and medium grain aquatint, followed by several radical reductions of the surface through burnishing.
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    38. Jasper Johns

     

    38. Casts, 1976 Plâtres 10 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. Etching and lift-ground aquatint
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    39. Jasper Johns

     

    39. Flagstones and Flagstones, 1976 Flagstones et Flagstones 10 13/16 x 14 1/4 in.
 Etching, lift-ground aquatint, and open-bite
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    41. Jasper Johns

     

    41. Numeral 5, 1976 Chiffre 5 (cinq) 9 5/16 x 6 15/16 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint, and burnishing with sandpaper 
 Chapter 5 of Fizzle is the most complex image in the Johns/Beckett collaboration (Foirades/Fizzles ). Note that even the Numeral has undergone complex alterations of technique and form. Numeral 5 reveals several changes and alterations made in the drawing and etching process. Like the Numeral 5, all of the images in Fizzle 5 flicker between light and dark, which is also the case in the words of Samuel Beckett throughout the fifth Fizzle.
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    42. Jasper Johns

     

    42. Feet (b), 1976 Pieds 10 15/16 x 8 3/8 in. Etching, photoengraving, lift-ground aquatint, and open-bite Feet (b) is the second photographically illusionistic image Johns made for Fizzles. The use of the photographic process has helped to render the image of Feet (b) in a much more realistic way than if he had drawn the image directly on the plate.
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    43. Jasper Johns

     

    43. Casts (Words), 1976 Des Plâtres (formules)! 10 7/8 x 7 3/4 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint, stop-out, open-bite, and burnishing The third single plate of casts appears in this final motif consisting of reserved shapes on a dark ground. Casts (Words) is soft and diffuse where its predecessor, Casts (catalog No. 38), was linear and precise.
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    44. Jasper Johns

     

    44. Flagstones and Casts, 1976 Flagstones et Plâtres 10 13/16 x 14 1/4 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint, and open-bite The last double page etching, Flagstones and Casts separates the French and English texts of Fizzle 5. The casts themselves are evoked by a controlled, classical etching style, reminiscent of Rembrandt's mature etchings of the 1650s and Picasso's etchings of the 1930s.
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    45. Jasper Johns

     

    45. Handfootsockfloor, 1976 Mainpiedchaussetteterrasse 9 5/8 x 7 1/2 in. Etching, lift-ground aquatint, stop-out, open-bite, scraper, and burnishing
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    46. Jasper Johns

     

    46. Flagstones, 1976 Flagstones 11 9/16 x 18 5/16 in. Lift-ground aquatint and open-bite from three plates printed in red, black, and white The back end leaf for Foirades/Fizzles represents two panels having sections that repeat. The design of both the front (catalog No. 20) and end leaf panels recalls the imagery of the panels from Untitled, 1972.

File Mar 17

Artist's signatures authenticating the collection with watermark bearing the initials of JJ (Jasper Johns), a watermark of the logo belonging to the printer Tyler Graphics Ltd. and the poet's (Samuel Beckett) signature.