Jasper Johns’ changing work shows how Pablo Picasso replaced Marcel Duchamp as the figurehead of modern art...
25 January 2016
In the mid-1950s, Johns’ work reflected his admiration for Duchamp. When New York’s Museum of Modern Art asked him to produce a piece celebrating Picasso’s 80th birthday, he responded with a double portrait inspired by Duchamp’s own Self-Portrait. However, Johns’ Seasons, which he began in 1985, contain multiple references to Picasso. He borrowed the shadow, which recurs in all four works, from Picasso’s work The Shadow (1953). The starry sky and ladder are taken from Minotaur Moving his House (1936). Johns also used another Picasso painting, Straw Hat with Blue Leaves (1936), to develop a vast series of pictorial and graphic works.