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A work made of paper on hardboard.

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  • A work made of paper on hardboard.




Jasper Johns
American, born 1930

About this artwork

Jasper Johns has worked with stencils of alphabet letters since the 1950s, yet this is his only painting that shows a single sequence from A to Z. The artist made Alphabet the same year in which he introduced riots of primary color-augmented by touches of green, pink, orange, pale blue, gray, brown, black, and white into his work. We might try to read this painting in order, letter by letter, from top left to bottom right. But the jumble of strokes, daubs, smudges, and collaged fragments of painted paper scatters our eyes across the animated surface, challenging any sense of sequential progress. In this way, two different stylistic approaches orderly grids of stenciled forms versus brushy gestures are set against one another.


On View, Gallery 292


Contemporary Art


Jasper Johns




United States (Object made in)

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.

Made 1959


paper on hardboard


30.5 × 26.7 cm (12 × 10 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Edlis Neeson Collection

Reference Number


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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