Jasper Johns to leave Connecticut estate for artists retreat

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Former President Barack Obama (L) presents artist Jasper Johns with the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

HARTFORD — Famed American painter Jasper Johns wants his rural estate in the Connecticut hills to become an artists’ retreat after he’s gone.

The 87-year-old artist wants his estate in northwestern Connecticut to become a place where as many as two dozen artists would live, share meals together and work on their craft.

The planning commission for the town of Sharon gave its approval for his plans last week.

First Selectman Brent Colley says it’s the best use of the property and fits in with the already lively local arts scene in the Litchfield County town of some 3,000 people.

Johns has been a major influence on pop, minimalist and conceptual art. His textured images of American flags are icons of modern art.