With Jasper Johns: Regrets, the Upper Belvedere is presenting not only one of the most important and multifaceted American artists, but also premieres the artist’s most recent body of work, developed over the last year and a half, and gives visitors the chance to see one of the most important series in Jasper Johns’s contemporary work. The exhibition features around 30 works, including two paintings, sketches and prints.
Each of the two paintings is titled Regrets. This title is developed from a stamp that Johns had produced about five years ago, in order to swiftly decline the stream of requests and invitations that he frequently receives. Enlarged as a screen print, the words on the stamp appear in the top right corner of the two paintings, serving both as the artist’s signature and as the works’ titles.
In June 2012, Johns discovers an old photograph of the young artist Lucian Freud in an auction catalogue. The photograph, part of a series taken around 1964 by the British photographer John Deakin, shows the young artist Lucian Freud perched on a bed, one arm raised to obscure his face in an introspective gesture. Jasper Johns was not only inspired by the scenery but also by the damages the image had suffered over the years. In the following months, the image became the starting point for his Regrets-series, where he takes the image through a succession of numerous permutations.
This exhibition is based upon one originally organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York