Jasper Johns, born in 1930, is one of the most important American artists of the 20th century. His art is considered a precursor to Pop Art. Johns began to paint his iconic paintings of US flags and dartboards in the late 1950s - the serial flags and targets made him internationally famous and his works can be found all over the world today. However, only a small circle of people may be aware that the artist is also a collector.

Collections by artists are often the result of gifts or a lively exchange activity with colleagues. This also applies to Jasper Johns, but by no means to all the works in his collection: he collected a large part with the sure instinct of a connoisseur and by no means all the works are by contemporaries. They include works from the 19th century to the present day. Both extensive groups of works - for example by Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso and Willem de Kooning - as well as expressive individual sheets, for example by Käthe Kollwitz, Marcel Duchamp or Sol LeWitt, can be found. In its entirety, the collection illustrates Jasper Johns' affinity for the medium of drawing in all its facets.

Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Suonerai nel quotidiando, accelerando, 2021 Brass, concrete, bronze and olive wood spoons, dimensions variable Commissioned by Fondazione Donnaregina for contemporary art, Naples

Franz Kline, Composition, 1948, gouache on paper, Collection of Jasper Johns © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich

The exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel shows a selection of around 100 drawings from Jasper Johns' collection. The theme of the human body serves as the starting point, to which the majority of the works on paper are dedicated. The show brings together a wide range of graphic expressions from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism and the present day, providing a representative insight into this unique collection for the first time.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a room on the second floor of the new building will be dedicated to works by Jasper Johns from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Basel. The most important paintings will be juxtaposed with prints from the Kupferstichkabinett.
September 30, 2023 to February 4, 2024

Temitayo Ogunbiyi, "You will hands up" (detail), 2019, Japanese ink and acrylic on found fabric, varnished 137.2 x 88.4 cm © Courtesy the artist

Bartolomeo Passarotti, Hand Holding a Robe (Study for the "Adoration of the Magi", ), ca. 1555 - 1560, Pen and brown ink over traces of black chalk on paper, Collection of Jasper Johns