Ed Ruscha - Contemporary Art Part II New York Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London; Galerie Philomene Magers, Munich; Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot, by Los Angeles-based painter Ed Ruscha, represents a departure from the artist’s typical style. Ruscha is most famous for his large canvases and interest in playing with bold text and billboard-style graphics. However, this blurred image of a house on a hill at dawn lacks the sharply defined contours and superimposed lettering of his other paintings of nature scenes. Thus, this work is a rare example of a Ruscha landscape painting that allows the image to speak for itself without the addition of text.
    While nature plays a strong part in his work, as ever with Ruscha, all is not quite as it appears. In the 1990s he created a series of works with idyllic mountain backdrops. For Ruscha, the interest in these mountains is not in their reality but their function as a motif representing the sublime, the ideal. ‘I’m not a naturalist who goes out there,’ Ruscha says of his landscape works. ‘I’m not that sort of artist - I paint the idea of the mountains.’
    (Eliza Williams, ‘Ed Ruscha comes to the Hayward’, in Creative Review, 14 October 2009)

  • 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.

    View More Works


Top o' the Morn'. Top o' the Hill

Acrylic on paper.
30 x 40 1/8 in. (76.2 x 101.9 cm).
Signed and dated "Ed Ruscha 1998" lower right. This work will be included in a forthcoming volume of Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $128,500

Contemporary Art Part II

9 November 2010
New York