James Rosenquist

(AMERICAN, 1933-2017) 'After Berlin V.'


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James Rosenquist - After Berlin V, 1999
Color lithograph on heavy, white wove paper
Edition: 57/80
Size: 27 ¾ x 32 inches, full margins.
Signed, dated and numbered in pencil, lower margin
Certificate of Authenticity included

Over the course of his career, a pioneering Pop artist James Rosenquist produced an important body of work that explores new boundaries in printmaking. In his recognizable, large-scale, fragmented works, he brought the visual language of commercial painting onto canvas. During the late 1990s, Rosenquist started incorporating abstraction into his works. While these paintings feature images from his earlier work, they also attest to Rosenquist’s rediscovered appreciation for the gestural paintings of Abstract Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. However, his life-long fascination with chaos remained constant.

The large-scale lithograph “After Berlin V” is part of the series the artist produced during this experimental period. This remarkable work features vividly colored, distorted and compressed forms whirling through space amidst layers of sleek, reflective vortices. Fragmented images of distinctive logos from advertisements and commercial package designs overlap, collide, and swirl across the canvas, overwhelming the composition. Exploring vision in motion, this seemingly chaotic composition incorporates references to works from his earlier career, but also the technological, economic and political changes that have shaped the past century. This immersive work testifies to the inventiveness and engagement for which his work remained relevant over the course of a six-decades-long prolific career.

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About James Rosenquist

A leading American Pop artist, James Rosenquist is best known for his large-scale collage paintings that juxtapose a range of fragmentary images sourced from advertising and mass media. In his bold and mysterious compositions, the artist expressed his social, political and cultural concerns. Emerging in the 1960s, Rosenquist was among the first artists to address the seducing power of advertising through the application of the Surrealist practice of juxtaposing seemingly unrelated subjects into provocative pictorial combinations. A billboard painter-turned-artist, he used and recombined imagery from advertisements, photographs, and popular periodicals to tackle a range of subjects, from the economic, romantic, and ecological to the scientific, cosmic and existential.

He rose to prominence with a seminal 1965 work “F-111”, which combined the war imagery of mushrooms clouds and fighter planes and advertising and populist imagery to offer a profound visual critique of the Vietnam War. Over the course of his career, he created an exceptional and consistently intriguing body of work. In later years, Rosenquist moved beyond his early fascination with popular culture and mass media to explore the more abstract subject matter, continuing to influence younger generations of artists.

Rosenquist received numerous honors, including selection as “Art in America Young Talent USA” in 1963, appointment to a six-year term on the Board of the National Council of the Arts in 1978, after using his prominent artistic reputation to help lobby for federal protection of artists’ rights, and receiving the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in 1988. In 2002, he received Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón’s annual international award for art, in recognition of his contributions to universal culture.

Working simultaneously in diverse media, Rosenquist was a successful draftsman, collagist and printmaker. Using personal and mysterious references, the reading of his work is unique for each viewer.

James Rosenquist was born in 1933 in Grand Forks, North Dakota and lived and worked between Aripeka, Florida and New York. He died in 2017 at the age of 83 at his home in New York City after a long illness.

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