- medium Lithograph
- edition 80/225
- size 8.00w x 12.00h in
- created 1991
COA: This work comes with a certificate of authenticity from West Chelsea Contemporary.
Publisher: Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York
Printer: Universal Limited Art Editions, New York
Summer (Blue) stems from Johns’ series of four large encaustic paintings titled “The Seasons” which debuted at the famed Leo Castelli Gallery (NYC) in 1987. Each painting was named after one of the four seasons and mixed cultural artifacts with seasonal symbols of growth, life, and death.
This body of work was both allegorical and highly personal. Johns appears in the work as the filled-in silhouette alongside an outstretched arm and hand pointing to the progress of the year and the stage of the artist’s life.
On the left side of the composition, Mona Lisa’s mysterious gaze signals John’s affinity for Leonardo da Vinci (and appropriation). Surrounding her are two of Johns’ favorite motifs: the American flag and cross-hatching patterns. Also appearing in the image are vessels created by American potter George Ohr (1857-1918). Ohr’s ground-breaking practice led him to be considered a precursor to American Expressionism. The tiny and ambiguous seahorse featured in the print carries symbolic weight in challenging traditional narratives of gender and sexuality.