Creating painterly fields of color in this unusually large aquatint, Johns has built a composition in multiple sections, each populated by elements the artist frequently employs in his work: a child's silhouette, the vase/faces optical illusion, a ladder, rotating discs, and spots of color. In addition, a yellow cloth is nailed to the ladder's upper rung—perhaps related to the handkerchief in The Weeping Woman, I (1937), by Pablo Picasso, whose work has been an ever-present influence on Johns.
Printmaking is an integral part of Johns's practice, in large part due to his collaboration, since 1960, with Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), a pioneering workshop established on Long Island in 1957. The Museum collects an impression from each edition published by ULAE, documenting the ongoing activities of the seminal workshop through this archive.
Gallery label from New to the Print Collection: Matisse to Bourgeois, June 13, 2012–January 7, 2013.