Johns has made dozens of interpretations of the American flag—in painting, drawing, metal relief, and printmaking. Flag I is his first printed rendering. He drew the image with broad strokes in the liquid medium of tusche, which accounts for the loose, fluid quality of the composition and its nearly unrecognizable form. Printed in rich black ink, this version exudes a somber, even morbid, tone.
Gallery label from Artistic Collaborations: 50 Years at Universal Limited Art Editions, January 17–May 21, 2007.