Jasper Johns
works from the artist's collection
21 October 1997 to 22 March 1998
The opening exhibition

On the occasion of its inauguration, the Fondation Beyeler presents its first changing exhibition of around fifty paintings and drawings by Jasper Johns selected from works in the artist's possession. Johns is incontestably one of the key figures of American post-war art. He first became known at the age of twenty-four with a picture of the American Stars and Stripes which, although it hung on the wall like a real flag, was also an abstract painting which created a link between European concrete art and American abstract expressionism. Generally speaking, Johns' work revolves around themes and motifs which are otherwise hardly noticed, such as numbers, letters, maps or shooting targets. Johns himself has said: "I was concerned with the fact that these visual symbols are frequently overlooked, and with the idea that such visual symbols should be understood rather than merely glimpsed out of the corner of one's eye."

Ernst Beyeler has complemented the exhibition, parts of which have already been shown at a retro-spective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, by a number of drawings which he selected from works in the artist's possession. Thus the exhibition represent achieves a personal viewpoint and insight into Jasper Johns' work, which is presented here for the first time in this form.

Whereas Jasper Johns, who belongs to the category of modern artists, is not represented directly in the Fondation Beyeler's permanent collection, this exhibition of his work is based on the Fondations' policy of presenting the work of artists with a direct connection to the collection in the form of changing exhibitions.