CRI_136377 Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954-55
Image via MoMA Copyright:© 2015 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

James Meyer was Johns' assistant for 25 years and during 2006-2012 he stole a total of 22 pieces from the artist, which he then went on to sell for $6.5 million, pocketing half of this amount himself.

All the works were unfinished and were sold with forged authentication paperwork through galleries in New York.

Jasp_J Jasper Johns
Image via

James Meyer was also involved in the transportation of stolen goods.

The pieces were stolen from Johns' Connecticut studio. Meyer was sentenced in Manhattan by federal court to an 18 month jail sentence.

Jasper Johns most recognised artwork is Flag, 1954–55, which he claims to have painted following a dream of the American flag. Johns works with iconography and figures from pop culture. Johns also works in such mediums as sculpture and print.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 12.26.38 Jasper Johns, Untitled, 1971
On sale at Sotheby's

Since 1980 onwards, the artist usually finishes around 5 paintings a year. Most Johns collectors adore him for his larger works, due to their rarity. His works from the 1950s which reflected his stand against abstract impressionism are the most wanted of this works.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 12.26.47 Jasper Johns, Summer, Blue, 1985-1991
On sale at Rago

Skate's Art Market Research places Johns as the 30th most valuable artist in the world. Skate's list of the 1 000 most valuable art sold at auction features 7 works by Johns.

The Whitney Museum of American art purchased Three Flags, 1958, in 1980 for $1 million. This was then a record for the highest price paid for an artwork by a living artist.

False Start sold at Sotheby's in 1988 to Samuel I. Newhouse for $17.05 million, topping the record set in 1980. It was also the second highest price for a work sold in America. 

Collectors Anne and Kenneth Griffin, purchased the pieces for $80 million which in turn made it the most expensive painting by a living artist.

Last year, Sotheby's sold Flag, 1983, in New York for $36 million, breaking all auction records for Johns.

Pieces by Jasper Johns will be on sale at Sotheby's Prints & Multiples sale 1-2 May and at Rago's Post-War and Contemporary Art sale, May 7.

Search Jasper Johns now.