Winter, a 1986 encaustic painting on canvas by American artist Jasper Johns measures 75×50 inches. Johns is a notable figure in the art world as he merges abstract expressionism with pop and minimal art. Winter is one out of four paintings from Johns’ “given” series that focuses on pre-existing subjects rather than invention.
Johns showcases his technical prowess in printmaking by using 12 screens in one work to produce delicate color gradations and layers. Winter, despite its simplicity, is a complex piece with various interpretations. The painting features an abstracted version of a flag’s blue field with white dots and crackles that provides textural depth to the piece.
Winter has been featured heavily within several prominent museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. Although there are no concrete reasons for the inspiration of this work, experts speculate that it might have been inspired by John’s frequent visits to his childhood home in South Carolina during winter. The artwork’s interpretation remains open-ended, leaving much room for viewers’ different approaches to understanding Winter’s meaning.