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Figure 4

A work made of encaustic and newspaper on canvas.

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  • A work made of encaustic and newspaper on canvas.

Date:

1959

Artist:

Jasper Johns
American, born 1930

About this artwork

Once asked about his use of numerals as subjects for painting, Johns replied, “They seemed to me preformed,
conventional, depersonalized, factual, exterior elements.” That is, they freed Johns from any obligation to construct a pictorial narrative or express his interior life. Despite the ease with which we recognize the number 4, Johns plays with its meaning in the title: the word figure winks at the tradition of “figural” (or representational) painting, and the number 4 sounds like the word for, leaving the title entirely open-ended, like an unfinished sentence. Meanwhile the monumental 4 of the painting itself is almost lost amid the lively patchwork of brushstrokes.

On View

Contemporary Art, Gallery 292

Artist

Jasper Johns

Title

Figure 4

Origin

United States

Date

Made 1959

Medium

Encaustic and newspaper on canvas

Dimensions

51.4 × 39.4 cm (20 1/4 × 15 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Edlis Neeson Collection

Reference Number

2015.120

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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