Ed Ruscha - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, May 13, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York Barbara Bertozzi Castelli, New York Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    Fort Worth, Fort Worth Art Center Museum, Contemporary American Art: Los Angeles, from Fort Worth-Dallas Collections, January 12 - February 6, 1972 Vero Beach, Florida, Gallery at Windsor, Ed Ruscha: The Drawn World, December 7, 2003 - February 1, 2004 New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, June 24 - September 26, 2004, then traveled to Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art (October 17, 2004 - January 17, 2005), Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art (February 13 - May 30, 2005)Saratoga Springs, New York, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Twice Drawn: Modern and Contemporary Drawings in Context, part 2, October 7 - December 30, 2006

  • Literature

    Ed Ruscha: The Drawn World, exh. cat., Gallery at Windsor, Vero Beach, Florida, 2004, n.p. (illustrated)Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2005, p. 139, pl. 97 (illustrated) Twice Drawn: Modern and Contemporary Drawings in Context, part 2, exh. cat., Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, pp. 176-77 (illustrated)E. Ruscha, They Called Her Styrene, London: Phaidon, 2000, n.p. (illustrated)L. Turvey, Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper, Volume 1: 1956-1976, Gagosian Gallery, New York & Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014, p. 271, no. D1970.59 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot, Rooster, 1970, executed in crimson powdered pastel and gunpowder on paper, captures Ed Ruscha’s iconic and unrivaled handling of text and landscape; here ribbon-like letters swirl upon a smoky backdrop of charcoal grays and burgundy reds. Reading from left to the right the “R” rests upon a deep cardinal red border, a foreboding start to the narrative. As the word is spelled out, the red dissipates into a light grey; it travels horizontally across the composition to the paper’s far right edge, reminiscent of the early gelatin silver photographic prints which form the foundation of Ruscha’s oeuvre. Finely executed, work emphasizes the warm tone that Ruscha admired and embraced in his materials. The present lot is a pillowy trompe l’oeil that captures Ruscha’s subtle genius in both its composition and technique. Seamlessly blending text with visual illusion, it is a masterful example of the artist’s multifarious works on paper.Ruscha draws his artistic technique from the slick, flattened backdrops of Hollywood set design and the graphics of rolling movie credits. The viewer senses that the ribbon-like, silvery white letters may at any moment disappear from the screen as they stroll across the page. But each letter casts delicate and differentiated shadows onto the amorphous background of the sheet. There are also “high art” allusions at play here. The smoky gradations of light and shade that merge the planes of the composition could be found in the canonical works of Old Masters. The traditional power of these techniques comes into conjunction with the visual transience of mass media. As the artist explained in reference to these impermanent words and phrases, “When I see a word or phrase, or hear one (on the radio or in the street), I have to capture it immediately. Otherwise it will slip away from me, disappear.” (Ed Ruscha in Margit Rowell’s Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips©, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2004, p. 15)

  • Artist Biography

    Ed Ruscha

    American • 1937

    Ed Ruscha is an Los Angeles-based artist whose art, like California itself, is both geographically rooted and a metaphor for an American state of mind. A deft creator of photography, film, painting, drawing, prints and artist books, Ruscha has executed works for over 60 years that are simultaneously unexpected and familiar, both ironic and sincere.

    His most iconic works are 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 the post-war world.

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Ο ◆21


gunpowder, pastel on paper
11 1/2 x 29 in. (29.2 x 73.7 cm)
Signed and dated "E. Ruscha 1970" lower left.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $389,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Evening Sale 14 May 2015 7pm