The Greenville County Museum of Art plans to spend $5.8 million on works by pop/Abstract Expressionist artist Jasper Johns. It is one of the largest art acquisitions by any museum in the Southern region.
The museum will purchase an oil painting, two watercolors, a monotype print, a drawing and 30 prints directly from Johns. All the works are from the artist’s personal collection, and the price is lower than the art could bring on the open market, museum director Tom Styron said. Styron worked out the purchase with Johns, who lives outside New York.
About 10 years ago, the museum purchased a 1991 untitled painting by Johns, 74, who grew up in South Carolina. The painting has a motif of a woman’s face and makes references to Johns’ step-grandmother. All the works the museum plans to purchase are related to that painting.
Johns first achieved acclaim in the art world in the 1950s and 1960s with his paintings of flags and targets. The works the museum is purchasing, created between the late 1980s and mid-1990s, marked a departure for Johns because they contained personal information.
Besides the untitled 1991 painting, the museum owns 30 prints by Johns from the 1960s and 1970s. The museum plans to pay for the works with money raised from an annual antiques show and an art acquisition fund. About $4 million will be raised during the next several years. The works will come to the museum sporadically between next year and 2008.