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Contemporary Art

crosshatching with compositional framework of double image,


Jasper Johns
U.S., b. 1930
Corpse and Mirror, 1976
30 3/4 x 39 3/4 in.
Gift of Jerome M. Westheimer, Sr., 1985

In the 1960s, Jasper Johns, one of the most celebrated and influential living artists, broke with tradition and began devoting himself equally to painting and printmaking. His works on paper, which frequently echo the imagery and themes of his paintings, continue to represent an important component of his work.

Like the 1974 paintings of the same title, the lithograph Corpse and Mirror employs crosshatching, a drawing technique that uses sets of intersecting parallel lines to shade an object. In this instance, Johns combines the crosshatch with his familiar compositional framework of the double image, requiring the viewer's close inspection to discern the subtle differences between the two parts. The title alludes to the Surrealist method of making what was referred to as "an exquisite corpse," with several artists and poets contributing to a single work, each starting with just an edge of what had been drawn by the previous person.