Tuesday, 8 May 2012


In 1980, a full eight years after his first use of the crosshatch motif, Johns received a postcard reproduction of Edvard Munch's Between the Clock and the Bed (1940–42; Munch Museum, Oslo). In this late self-portrait, Munch, near death, depicted himself in his bedroom, standing in front of the open door to his studio; the bright red and dark blue pattern of the bedspread is rendered in a fashion markedly similar to Johns's crosshatches. Between 1980 and 1982, Johns, inspired by the Munch work, made several drawings and two large paintings based on the crosshatch motif. These works culminate in Johns's monumental grisaille encaustic painting Between the Clock and the Bed. This picture is the last major independent articulation of the crosshatch (as of this writing). Johns incorporated touches of red, blue, yellow, green, ocher, pink, and purple, but the painting is predominantly gray. For whatever reasons, Johns chose to end his extended treatment of the crosshatch motif with this distillation in gray.

Jasper Johns / Gray

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