Ed Ruscha - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, October 24, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “Stains is a boxed set of single sheets of paper, done in 1969, and it’s like a little treasure chest of overlooked things. Stains have always been scorned I guess, and it evolved out of my concepts painting. I’ve always painted with a skin on a support, like paint on a canvas. And finally, I got sick of doing it, and staining something, letting a wet material sink down into the fabric of the support—in this case, paper—was the effort here and was my interest. The idea of using something that stains rather than a paint that sits on the surface of a canvas was my discovery for myself at the time.


    So, there is everything from wine stains, coffee stains, L.A. tap water that’s almost invisible—lots of ‘em, lots of stains. I made a little laundry list of things that I think I wanted to see at that time, one was even sulfuric acid which eats a hole in the paper and everything that I selected seemed to be right at the time.


    When I produced this thing, I remember buying a large quantity of this 100% rag content paper, and I got a call from the U.S. government because it is the same kind of paper that would be used in counterfeiting, so I had a short-lived problem there, proving that I was not doing anything nefarious.”

    — Ed Ruscha


    • Provenance

      Susan Inglett Gallery, New York

    • Literature

      Siri Engberg B9

    • Catalogue Essay

      Stains is currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York as part of the retrospective exhibition "ED RUSCHA/NOW THEN", through January 13, 2024 (another impression exhibited).

      1. Los Angeles Tap Water
      2. Pacific Ocean Salt Water
      3. Eyewash (Murine)
      4. Witch hazel (Borbro distilled)
      5. Acetone (Gray Cross)
      6. Bleach (Clorox)
      7. Hydrogen Peroxide (Gray Cross)
      8. Candlewax (Halo)
      9. Spot Remover (Energine)
      10. Antiseptic (Listerine)
      11. Turpentine (T&R Factors of Texas)
      12. Sperm (Human)
      13. Ant
      14. Gunpowder (DuPont superfine)
      15. Rust Solvent (Liquid Wrench)
      16. Lacquer Thinner (Sinclairs)
      17. Topsoil
      18. Drain Cleaner (Liquid Drano)
      19. Eau de Cologne (Partner)
      20. Beer (Coors)
      21. Nail Enamel (L'Oreal Coffee Caramel)
      22. Gasoline (Mobil Ethyl)
      23. Spirits of Peppermint (Borbro)
      24. Oil of Wintergreen (Borbro)
      25. Castor Oil (Borbro)
      26. Glacial Acetic Acid (Robinson)
      27. Sufuric Acid (Mallinckrodt)
      28. Butch Wax with lanolin
      29. Wine (Chateau Latour 1962)
      30. Glue (Wilhold Glu-bird)
      31. Bacon Grease
      32. Leather Dye (Shinola)
      33. Tincture Merthiolate (Norco)
      34. Urine (Human)
      35. Lacquer (Pactra clear)
      36. Shellac (Master Mixed orange)
      37. Varnish (Grumbacher spray damar)
      38. Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
      39. Milk (Knudson)
      40. Coca Cola
      41. Ammonia (Goodwin's)
      42. Tobacco (Gauloise [sic])
      43. Salad Dressing (Kraft Roka blue cheese)
      44. Bourbon (Old Charter)
      45. Egg Yolk
      46. Egg White
      47. Chocolate Syrup (Hershey's)
      48. Grass
      49. Glycerine (Alvarado Pharmacy)
      50. Rose Petal (American Beauty)
      51. Oil Paint (Bellini Cad. Yellow Deep)
      52. Pepper Sauce (Tabasco)
      53. Ketchup (Heinz)
      54. Spinach
      55. Green Onion
      56. Radish (Red)
      57. Parsley
      58. Beet
      59. Turnip
      60. Pepper (Yellow)
      61. Cabbage (Red)
      62. Tea (Lipton's)
      63. Coffee (Yuban)
      64. Apple Juice (Tree Top Pure)
      65. India Ink (Pelikan)
      66. Mustard (French's)
      67. Cocoa Butter (Hershey's)
      68. Dairy Butter
      69. Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)
      70. Olive Oil (Star)
      71. Mineral Oil (Squibb)
      72. Motor Oil (Texaco 30W-HD)
      73. Meat (T-Bone)
      74. Molasses (Brer Rabbit)
      75. Cinnamon Oil (Magnus, Mabee & Reynard)
      Inside silk: Blood of the Artist

    • 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


Stains (E. B9)

The complete artist's book of 75 stains, on Eagle Coupon Bond paper, with one additional stain of the artist's blood on white silk moiré fabric boxed in the portfolio, with title, colophon and index pages, all loose (as issued), contained in the original clamshell portfolio covered with black textured paper with embossed title in silver ink on the cover and spine.
all S. 11 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (29.8 x 27.3 cm)
Portfolio 12 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (31.8 x 28.6 x 3.8 cm)

Signed and numbered 36/70 in blue ink on the colophon, all sequentially stamp-numbered '1-75' in black ink (there were also 2 artist's proofs), published by Heavy Industry Publications, Hollywood.

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $35,560

Contact Specialist

212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 24-26 October 2023