Jasper Johns. Diver. 1962-63

Jasper Johns Diver 1962-63

  • Not on view

The footprints at the top of Diver, the handprints at bottom and center, and the arrows, powerfully evoke the physical movement of a dive. But Diver also provides a metaphor for Johns's artistic process: we are invited to immerse ourselves in the rich surface of his thoughts. A dive can be seen as a suspended moment between life and death (the two handprints can also be read as a skull)—and this work has been interpreted as, in part, an homage to the poet Hart Crane, who dived to his death from a ship in 1932.

Gallery label from 2006
Charcoal, pastel, and paint on paper mounted on canvas, two panels
7' 2 1/2" x 71 3/4" (219.7 x 182.2 cm)
Partial gift of Kate Ganz and Tony Ganz in memory of their parents, Victor and Sally Ganz, and in memory of Kirk Varnedoe; Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest Fund; gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., gift of Philip L. Goodwin, bequest of Richard S. Zeisler, and anonymous gift (all by exchange). Acquired by the Trustees of The Museum of Modern Art in memory of Kirk Varnedoe
Object number
© 2018 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

We used machine learning to identify this work in photos from our exhibition history.