Jasper Johns penned Two Autograph Letters referring to his art. He mentions his painting "Construction with a Toy Piano" and a painting of fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). Autograph Letter Signed, two separate 4to pages, Sept. 29,1989. The second is an Autograph Letter Unsigned, in pencil, a two page 4to fragment, undated referring to art work hanging on Johns' studio walls. Both letters are written to Fred Mitchell (1923-2013), one of the five cofounders of the artist run Tanager Gallery in New York City. Mitchell was himself a New York School Abstract Expressionist artist. The third letter in the group was written by Fred Mitchell to Johns, August 21, 1992, referring to John Cage's composition, "Europera," soon after Cage died in August 1992.
After offering news of family and friends, Johns writes in the September 29 letter, “If you can ever track down that photo of my ‘Construction with a Toy Piano' and Bob Rauschenberg ‘Paint Cans’ painting on the walls of the Tanager Gallery I’ll be grateful… (the photo) was in the that Tanager ‘Memorial exhibition that you sent me to in Soho some years ago….” He ends with his upcoming travel schedule and signs, “Jasper.”
In the two page unsigned incomplete letter to Fred, Johns asks for "2 favors." "On the wall of my studio where I used to have those pictures is a small sculpture of a toothbrush with teeth. There is also hanging near that a cellophane bag with 2 or 3 pieces of blue dental wax in it. Will you send me those...." The incomplete letter ends with Johns asking for airmail to be forwarded. Johns presumably refers to his small sculpture of a tooth brush with several teeth attached titled, "The Critic Smiles, " 1969. Docketed "1965?" in the upper right corner.
The set of letters contains notable references to the artist he has been closely associated with, Robert Rauschenberg and "Pop Art." The letters also importantly refer to the Tanager Gallery,located at 90 E. 10 Street in New York City, where both Johns and Rauschenberg exhibited. The Gallery was open from 1952-1962. Additional images on request.