JOHNS, LICHTENSTEIN, STELLA
Jasper Johns sparked a revival in print making in America with his historic collaboration at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) founded by Tatyana Grosman, where in 1960 they published FLAG I and TARGET. In 1968 at Gemini he published his seminal set of prints of numbers and in 1971, Johns became the first artist to use the handfed offset lithographic press, resulting in Decoy- an image realized in printmaking before it was made in drawing or painting. For Johns, lithography became a crucial tool to expand his language. In 1977 a Johns one person exhibit was at The Whitney Museum. In our exhibit we include several key early prints.
Roy Lichtenstein’s major breakthrough occurred in 1962 with his historic pop “war” paintings and in 1963 CRYING GIRL marked the start of his important career as a printmaker. In 1965 he published his two most iconic prints SWEET DREAMS BABY and the MELODIE HAUNTS MY REVERIE for which there were no painting equivalents. Oftentimes Lichtenstein reinterpreted the work of artistic luminaries: DeKooning, Ernst and others using his signature Ben-Day dots. At the outset most of Lichtenstein’s prints were not valued and were taped or pinned to walls and thus few early works exist today in good condition. Now these prints are coveted and frequently shown in museum exhibits. We include the above three works in our exhibit. Frank Stella burst on the New York art scene in 1958, when his black paintings were included in the exhibition “Sixteen Americans” at MOMA.
Stella was late to printmaking and for a long time many were recapitulations of important painting images. In 1981 he began a seminal series of paintings (Circuits) based on the design of car race tracks (Stella races even today), and working with Ken Tyler in 1983 Stella made his most important prints, large “circuit” works that were independent of the paintings and incised into thick pulp paper and often with 30 or more colors. We include IMOLA V 2 here.