Ed Ruscha - Editions & Works on Paper New York Monday, October 24, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Ed Ruscha’s Sin presents the single word ‘SIN’ with a trompe l’oeil affect to produce the illusion that the letters have been made from folded paper, emerging from “the traditionally flat, two-dimensional realm of writing into three-dimensional space.”1 Many of Ruscha’s early prints explored the power of single words and the accompanying freedom with which to represent them, as words have no prescribed size. The evocative word ‘SIN’ is accompanied by an olive, situated perilously close to the edge of the composition, as if to tease that it might roll away out of sight at any given moment. In many of Ruscha’s early prints, he included unexpected and true-to-size objects, such as an olive, a fly, or a marble. The artist once remarked, “Often when an idea is so overwhelming, I use a small unlike item to ‘nag’ the theme.”2 Does the presence of the olive allude to “the power of temptation that attends the theological concept” or does the Surrealist pairing transform a somber notion into “an old idea worthy of a laugh and a martini?”3 


    1 John Selvidge. “Don’t Nod at an Evil Olive: Ed Ruscha at Oklahoma Contemporary.” Art Focus Oklahoma Summer 2021.  
    2 Siri Engberg. “Out of Print: The Editions of Edward Ruscha.” Edward Ruscha Editions 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. P.26.
    3 John Selvidge. “Don’t Nod at an Evil Olive: Ed Ruscha at Oklahoma Contemporary.” Art Focus Oklahoma Summer 2021.

    • Provenance

      Brooke Alexander, New York

    • Literature

      Cirrus Editions p. 338
      Siri Engberg 41

    • Catalogue Essay

      The consignor intends to donate the proceeds to benefit the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Additional works are also included in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day sale on November 15th, 2022.

    • 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

Property of an Important Private Collector Sold to Benefit the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College


Sin (C. p. 338, E. 41)

Screenprint in colors, on Louvain Opaque Cover paper, with full margins.
I. 12 7/8 x 21 1/2 in. (32.7 x 54.6 cm)
S. 19 x 26 1/2 in. (48.3 x 67.3 cm)

Signed, dated and numbered 58/150 in pencil (there were also 5 artist's proofs), published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles (with their blindstamp), framed.

Full Cataloguing

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $13,860

Contact Specialist


212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24 - 26 October 2022