False Start is a color lithograph by American artist Jasper Johns that depicts bursts of red, blue, yellow, orange, and gray on a 445×350 mm piece of paper. What makes this work unique is the technique used by Johns to attach a wooden slat to the painting to create a compass-drawn circle, forming a target. This method was adopted in later paintings such as “False Start II” and “Painting with Two Balls I”.
Johns began his career as a commercial artist and grew up in Allendale, South Carolina. He later studied fine art at the University of South Carolina and Parsons School of Design in New York. His artwork reflects his interest in exploring perception and challenges traditional notions of artistic representation.
In 2006, “False Start” was bought for $80 million by Citadel Investment Group’s CEO and his wife. The lithograph remains an important work within Johns’ collection and is available as both a fine art print and framed artwork for collectors.
Overall, “False Start” represents the creativity and imagination that defined Jasper Johns’ career. It employs techniques that were innovative for their time while also challenging viewers’ perceptions of what art can be.