Image: James Rosenquist Estate

James Rosenquist Estate James Rosenquist (1933 – 2017)

31 March 2017

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is deeply saddened by the loss of James Rosenquist who passed away on Friday, March 31st at the age of 83. He will be remembered as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and a pioneer of Pop Art.

James Rosenquist (1933-2017) was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 1955 he went to New York to study art at the Art Students League with renowned teachers such as German Dadaist George Grosz and Edwin Dickinson. Drawing upon his experience as a billboard painter he started incorporating images from mass media and advertising into large-scale canvases in the 1960s. He portrayed modern life by creating visually striking compositions of cropped and fragmented images of cars, movie stars, food etc. While his paintings are executed in a realistic style, James Rosenquist always gives them a distinctive sense of mystery. 

He is considered as one of the fathers of the Pop Art movement along with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. One of his most renowned works is the 86ft-long “F-111” (1964-65), titled after a US military jet the work is notably a protest against American militarism. In the 1970s, he turned to geo-political, existentialist and environmental themes and later his paintings revealed a futuristic abstraction. 

Today, James Rosenquist’s work is represented in public and private collections worldwide, including the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern and MoMA amongst others. The Guggenheim Museum organized in 2003 one of the most important retrospective exhibition on the artist which travelled around the world. On this occasion The New York Times wrote that his “art’s formal ingenuity can jump out at you as forcefully as the grill of a Ford or a fragment of Marilyn Monroe’s lips”.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac has worked with the artist for 25 years. His first exhibition at the gallery took place in 1992. His latest survey show “Four Decades 1970-2010” was on view between September and December 2016 at the Paris Pantin gallery. In November 2017 the Museum Ludwig in Cologne will host a major exhibition of his work titled “Painting as immersion”.

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