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Near the Lagoon

Extremely large muddy gray painting, with three looping cords hanging at different lengths.
Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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  • Extremely large muddy gray painting, with three looping cords hanging at different lengths.




Jasper Johns
American, born 1930

About this artwork

Jasper Johns has often affixed objects to the surfaces of his paintings in an ongoing search for non-illusionistic ways of mediating between the flat plane of the picture and a fully dimensional world. For his Catenary series (1997–2003), of which Near the Lagoon is the largest and last work, Johns formed catenaries—a term used to describe the curve assumed by a cord suspended freely from two points—by tacking ordinary household string to the canvas or its supports. In Near the Lagoon, the string activates and engages the abstract, collaged field of multitonal gray behind it, casting an actual shadow on the canvas, in addition to the painted ones that Johns rendered by hand; the string even creates a rut where the artist embedded it into and later pulled it out of the encaustic.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Jasper Johns


Near the Lagoon


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Encaustic on canvas and wooden boards with objects


Stenciled on bottom recto (paint in several colors): N J E A A S R P T E H R E J L O A H G N O S O 0 N 2 Straight-edge grid lines and freehand lines on verso (blue crayon and black crayon)


300 × 198.1–214.6 (variable) × 10 cm (118 × 78–84 1/2 [variable] × 4 in.)

Credit Line

Through prior gift of Muriel Kallis Newman in memory of Albert Hardy Newman

Reference Number



Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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