Jasper Johns's rendering of the American flag garnered the highest price ever paid for a painting by a living artist.
In 1954, recently discharged from the U.S. Army, conceptual artist Johns had a dream about the flag that inspired him to create a series of encaustic paintings, in which melted, colored beeswax is used as paint. In the case of "Flag," the red, white and blue wax was applied to board-mounted collages of newspaper clippings.
Sounds like a simple idea, but this seminal work of the so-called "Neo-Dada" movement would go on to inspire, for better or worse, generations of pop artists.
This version of "Flag," purchased by uber collector Steven A. Cohen, was created in 1958. If you'd like to admire the original 1954 entry in the series, it hangs in New York's Museum of Modern Art.