Ed Ruscha - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 11, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Private collection, Los Angeles

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lots, H.M.S. Nevertheless, 2003, depicts a stellar example of one of Ed Ruscha's dramatic Silhouette works. The image delivers a portrait of a galleon sailing across treacherous seas, and incorporates a wide range of historical and cultural references. This work by Ruscha, and several others by the artist that portray similar sailing vessels, can be viewed as a metaphor for the courageous dream that was begun by the brave sailors who discovered a new world and the pioneering spirit which had led to America’s founding. Inspired by the black and white films of his youth which featured noble sailors and swarthy pirates, as well as bold monochromes seen in the artwork he admired, the present lot is a tribute to Ruscha’s many influences. Although it is an image of bravery and hope, the black and white blurred effect also hints at a darker side to the American dream, signifying that the road to discovery is not always smooth sailing.

  • Artist Biography

    Ed Ruscha

    American • 1937

    Quintessentially American, Ed Ruscha is an L.A.-based artist whose art, like California itself, is both geographically rooted and a metaphor for an American state of mind. Ruscha is a deft creator of photography, film, painting, drawing, prints and artist books, whose works are simultaneously unexpected and familiar, both ironic and sincere.

    His most iconic works are at turns poetic and deadpan, epigrammatic text with nods to advertising copy, juxtaposed with imagery that is either cinematic and sublime or seemingly wry documentary. Whether the subject is his iconic Standard Gas Station or the Hollywood Sign, a parking lot or highway, his works are a distillation of American idealism, echoing the expansive Western landscape and optimism unique to postwar America.

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H.M.S Nevertheless

acrylic on paper
30 x 20 1/8 in. (76.2 x 51.1 cm)
Signed and dated "Ed Ruscha 2003" lower right margin.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $158,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

Contemporary Art Day
11 May 2012
New York