The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 22, 2024

Ten Numbers: Figure 5

Ten Numbers: Figure 5

(American, b. 1930)
Sheet: 34 x 27.6 cm (13 3/8 x 10 7/8 in.)
© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Location: not on view


Jasper Johns emerged as a major figure in post-war art with a landmark show at the Leo Castelli gallery in New York in 1958. Over the next decade, he established his reputation with a type of imagery that has become iconic for the twentieth century: Flags, Targets, Numbers and Alphabets depicted in a variety of techniques and media, including paintings, drawings and prints. Works of this type by Johns have had a profound impact on subsequent art because they address basic questions about perception and the nature of representation itself. In Ten Numbers, Johns developed the forms from commercial stencils, as he does for all of his number and alphabet imagery. The use of such "found" shapes-one that are pre-determined and widely recognizable-are meant to challenge the way the viewer looks at a type of sign normally so common as to be banal. Ten Numbers is one work in ten parts, with the numerals 0 to 9 each represented on a separate sheet of paper. Using a soft charcoal stick as a basis, Johns heavily worked this media with brushes, a stump (a tight roll of cloth or leather), and his own hands, developing a rich surface. His aim seems to have been to index, with each number, the different ways he could make marks using charcoal.
  • Cleveland Museum of Art. The CMA Companion: A Guide to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2014. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 169
  • Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA (organizer) (September 29, 2021-February 13, 2022)
    Jasper Johns: Numbers. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (February 1-April 18, 2004).
    The Cleveland Museum of Art (10/26/03 - 01/11/04); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (02/01/04 - 4/18/04); "Jasper Johns: Numbers", exh. cat. no. 20, pp. 69 & 94; color repr. p. 68-69.
  • {{cite web|title=Ten Numbers: Figure 5|url=false|author=Jasper Johns|year=1960|access-date=22 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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