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Jasper Johns (American, b.1930)
LOT ID: 82398
Flag (Moratorium), 1969

Offset lithograph, on wove paper
17.2 х 26 in. (43.69 x 66.04 cm.)
Signed, lower right recto; editioned lower left recto. Copyright printed lower right recto. Gallery label affixed to verso of frame.
Print/Casting Year 1969
Edition 300
Foundry/Publisher Committee Against the War in Vietnam, pub.
Lot description
Image size: 17.2 x 26 inches (43.7 x 66 cm)
Paper size: 20.3 x 28.5 inches (51.6 x 72.4 cm)

"Flag," often called "Moratorium," became an icon of the Anti-Vietnam War movement of the late Sixties, and is considered one of Jasper Johns' most controversial and socially significant prints. In 1969, a network of antiwar activists and student groups across the U.S. planned the National Vietnam Moratorium, a series of mass demonstrations. Leo Castelli commissioned Johns to create a poster for the Moratorium. The artist was famous for his pop art renditions of the American flag, which were often viewed as celebrations of patriotism equally enjoyed by all citizens, despite more subtle undertones. But his poster for the Moratorium was a departure from his red, white, and blue paintings: Johns painted a toxic flag, a national symbol poisoned by war. Johns’ flag was painted black, with sickly green stripes reminiscent of military camouflage, and a ghoulish orange, an allusion to the deadly Agent Orange herbicide used by the U.S. military in the 1960's as part of its germ warfare program. In the center of the painted flag was a single white dot representing a bullet hole. The design, historians have noted, was the perfect symbol for an ailing and decaying America in the quagmire of an unpopular war.

In addition to the limited edition lithographs such as the one offered here, Johns' image was also published as a poster with the single word "MORATORIUM" stenciled beneath the flag. The posters were widely distributed, and Johns' flag became one of the most well known images of the Vietnam War era.
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Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
  • Flag (Moratorium) by Jasper Johns
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