James Rosenquist - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

  • Exhibited

    Paris, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, James Rosenquist - Target Practice, May 14 - June 15, 1996 and Stockholm, Heland Wetterling Gallery, 1997

  • Literature

    Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, James Rosenquist - Target Practice, Paris, 1996, n.p. (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Having made a name for himself as a Pop Artist, James Rosenquist is one of the few of his era to have moved beyond the "popish" infatuation with popular culture, embracing diverse themes such as violence, AIDS, the environment, and the fragility of life on earth. Instead of clear-cut images, Rosenquist presents viewers with well executed paintings, yet with no clear meaning at first – allowing for contemplation and consideration in placing and deciphering his work of art.

    LA Business, belongs to a series of works in Rosenquist’s painterly oeuvre, making direct reference to American violence and gun crime. With an eye-level view of the barrel of the gun, which appears to follow spectators around, LA Business is as eye-catching as it is visually and psychologically puzzling. With a crimson red background and a hand embracing a gun, Rosenquist confronts spectators with the circular barrel of a pistle – a hole of black nothingness that for Rosenquist becomes a centre-point for reflection and perception, through which his observations of modern life and criticisms of the world are conveyed.

    In the present lot, Rosenquist has cleverly fused both his painterly techniques and his personal views to create a full-on larger scale work that with all its intensity touches upon the in depth social concerns of the United States. From his billboard years in the late 50s and early 60s, this work is a prime example of his unique understanding of colour as a means of creating a powerful and strong composition. Using a strong "blood" red as his background colour and placing it against the imagery of the gun, this work does not only become a platform upon which Rosenquist expresses his views, but transcends into a literal depiction of "cause and effect" between the figurative cause and the abstracted effect, allowing the viewer to pick up on the pictorial strength of a reality that has been recorded onto the surface of the canvas.


LA Business

Oil on canvas laid down on panel.
47 7/8 x 47 7/8 in. (121.7 x 121.7 cm).
Signed, titled and dated “James Rosenquist ‘La Business’ 1996” on the overlap.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for £204,000

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm