Featured image
Sunset on the 4th of July. Photo: JH.

Friday, July 5, 2024. Today is the 87th birthday of our beloved friend whom I never see but think about often, Brooke Hayward Duchin. Hayward was her maiden name, daughter of mega-film and Broadway producer/film agent Leland Hayward.  Her mother, when Brooke was born, was a famous American movie star, Margaret Sullavan. But at age 50, she took her own life. That same year — 1960 — Brooke’s sister Bridget Hayward also took her own life. And finally almost forty years later, their brother William, a film producer, took his own life.

“Brooke Hayward (In Dreams),” 1963.

Those losses obviously had a profound effect on Brooke. She had three interesting marriages — writer/author Michael Thomas, actor Dennis Hopper, and pianist/orchestra leader Peter Duchin. Her memoir Haywire, which was the name of  Margaret Sullavan’s farm in Connecticut, was a huge best-seller made into a film at least once. It was the first and maybe the only Hollywood tale that became a classic and remains so.

But speaking of dreams, we return to Lauren Lawrence’s analyses of dreams that certain individuals have divulged for her analysis. I notice, since we started running Lauren’s work, that there is an often expressed idea that our dreams are really made up stories. Not true. Lauren, who has her Masters Degree in Psychology, says that our minds are always active even when we’re asleep. And whatever we dream about is the result of our creative minds in moving along through life.

Lauren’s subject today is artist Jasper Johns’ and his dream about that famous American flag that he created in 1954-1955, the first of many flags that he made that were inspired by this dream …

Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954–55 (The Museum of Modern Art: Gift of Philip Johnson in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 106.1973) © Jasper Johns/VAGA at ARS, NY. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

by Lauren Lawrence

The Dream: “I dreamt that I saw myself painting the American flag.”

The Interpretation: By painting an American flag the dreamer inexplicably incorporates a part of himself into a recognizable presence known throughout the world – an icon flows from his fingertips. One wonders if it is a conceptual landscape of Johns’ or a self-portrait of allegiance. Either way, Johns’ is showing his stripes. Almost revelatory, this. For there is boldness and majesterial bravery in the stripes, and in the stars, a glowing aesthetic. There is surely the artist’s wish for public recognition – even a salute here and there.

The flag is an emblematic symbol of so much more than the American dream. It is an expression of the artistic freedom to reconfigure form at will. In response to the dream, Johns painted his dream on fabric – a fabrication, as it were, offering fresh perspective.

Before this dream, Jasper Johns threw away all his paintings, so perhaps the flag was unfurled for a part of him that died, or for another part that was resurrecting. Perhaps the dream signified the creative need for Johns’ flag to wave us in to salute his artistry, and maybe even place a right hand over our hearts.


For private dream analysis, contact

Recent Posts