The Menil to Publish the Catalogue Raissone of the Drawings of Jasper Johns

HOUSTON – The Board of Trustees of the Menil Collection and Menil Director Josef Helfenstein are pleased to announce a plan to publish the Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings of Jasper Johns. The catalogue is being prepared under the auspices of the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center, by agreement with the artist, with lead funding provided by Louisa S. Sarofim, Chairman of the Menil Board.

Bernice Rose, Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center, who will guide the publication as Chief Editor, has assembled a group of distinguished scholars and technical experts to collaborate on the project. Before joining the Menil, Ms. Rose was Director of Special Exhibitions at New York’s PaceWildenstein Gallery (1993‐2007) and Senior Curator of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art (1976‐1993). She has written extensively on modern and contemporary drawings and organized numerous exhibitions, including “Drawing Now” for the Museum of Modern Art (1975) and, for the Menil, “How Artists Draw” (2008), with selections from the museum and other Houston collections.

Dr. Roberta Bernstein, author of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Johns’s paintings and sculptures, to be published by the Wildenstein Institute, will be Editor in Chief of the three projects. Her book, Jasper Johnsʹs Paintings and Sculptures, 1954‐74: The Changing Focus of the Eye, is regarded as the most comprehensive study of the first twenty years of the artist’s career. While the Menil and the Wildenstein Institute will publish their respective catalogues separately, Guy Wildenstein, President of the Wildenstein Institute, and Mr. Helfenstein, of the Menil Collection, have arranged that the two institutions collaborate in sharing research data and ensuring uniform standards of scholarship and design among the various volumes.

The independent scholar and art historian Kate Ganz, as the catalogue’s Senior Editor, will study the objects and record‐related information. Ms. Ganz, who up until early in 2008 had a gallery in New York specializing in drawings of all periods, closed her business two years ago in order to concentrate on scholarly research and writing. She has worked extensively with drawings from the fifteenth through the early twenty‐first century, and was a principal organizer of “The Drawings of Annibale Carracci” in 1999 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She also contributed one of the major essays to that catalogue.
Dr. Eileen Costello, who specializes in postwar American and European art, will serve as Project Director, conducting research and managing its preparation and production of the catalogue.

The Menil is fortunate to have a substantial representation of Jasper Johns’s drawings among its own collections, and this catalogue raisonné represents a unique opportunity to examine the total output of this major contemporary artist. For the multiple‐volume work, as many as 700 drawings, dating from the 1950s to the present, will be studied, organized chronologically, described technically and reproduced in color.

This new publication project extends the Menil’s ongoing dedication to scholarly ventures. Other Menil publications include David Sylvester’s five‐volume catalogue of René Magritte, Werner Spies’s seven‐volume Max Ernst: Oeuvre‐Katalog, and The Image of the Black in Western Art. Said Menil Director Josef Helfenstein, “We are honored to continue the museum’s distinguished tradition of research by publishing the catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jasper Johns, with a team of scholars headed by Bernice Rose. Such projects are among the Menil’s highest priorities and are at the heart of our mission. It is especially fitting that this new and ambitious project focuses on an artist who holds such an importance place in the collection and in the history of American art.”

Dedicated to housing, preserving, and exhibiting the art collection of the Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, the Menil Collection, which opened in 1987, continues to collect and now holds some 17,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, and rare books. Its holdings of modern and contemporary art are especially noted for Dada and Surrealist works and for European and American art from the 1950s to the 1970s. The Menil has major representations of the work of Yves Klein and Lucio Fontana as well as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, and in 1994 opened the Cy Twombly Gallery in collaboration with the artist and the Dia Art Foundation. As the museum moves forward implementing a master site plan, the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center will occupy its own building on the 30‐acre campus, located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District.

Image: Jasper Johns Corpse 1974‐1975 Paintstik, ink and pastel on paper 42 1/2 x 28 1/2 inches Photographer: George Hixson The Menil Collection, Houston, Bequest of David Whitney Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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