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James Rosenquist
Television or the Cat's Cradle Supports Electronic Picture

1988 - 99

$1,900,000

About

A painting by James Rosenquist. "Television or the Cat's Cradle Supports Electronic Picture" is a Pop-Art painting, acrylic on canvas over panel in a palette of blacks, pinks, and blues by Blue Chip, American artist James Rosenquist. A leader of 1960’s pop art, James Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1933. After his family moved to Minneapolis, he studied art at both the Minneapolis School of Art and the University of Minnesota. Upon receiving a scholarship to the Art Students League in 1955, Rosenquist moved to New York City. Although he left the school after only a year, he painted billboards across the city before renting a studio space in Manhattan in 1960 where he developed his own artistic career. Rosenquist had his first solo show at the Green Gallery in New York in 1962 and achieved international acclaim with his room-scale painting, F-111 in 1965. Subsequently, Rosenquist has been honored throughout his extensive career. In 1978, he was appointed to a six-year term on the Board of the National Council of the Arts. More recently in 2002, he was given the Fundacion Cristobal Gabarron’s annual international award for art in recognition of his contributions to universal culture. Rosenquist’s work continues to evolve and influence contemporary artists. Rosenquist’s billboard painting served as the basis for his visual language, often adapted from advertising and pop culture. His work demonstrates a clear interest in deliberate color, line, and shape. However much of his work fragments and overlaps disproportionate images to abstract banal objects such as laundry detergent. Effectively, Rosenquist’s work confronts the viewer in unexpected ways, pushing them to reconsider consumer culture. Although primarily a painter, Rosenquist also produced numerous prints, drawings, and collages. In fact, his 1992 print Time Dust is cited as the world’s largest print in the world at 7 x 35 feet. Today, he continues to work and execute large-scale commissions including his three-painting suite The Swimmer in the Econo-mist for Deutsche Guggenheim 1998. Provenance: Bernard Jacobson Gallery, New York Private Collection, Houston Exhibition: 1993 Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California 2013 Celestial, McClain Gallery, Houston, Texas

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About the Artist

James Rosenquist

Although he insisted that he and his fellow Pop artists developed their art-making styles independently, American painter James Rosenquist belonged at the table with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Known for his distinctive use of visual montage, Rosenquist produced large, vibrantly colored tableaux marked by fragmentation and overlap. He often employed familiar motifs and objects drawn from popular contemporary culture — hot dogs, lipstick tubes, American flags — which he manipulated to form disorienting compositions whose constituent elements are nearly unrecognizable.

Born in North Dakota to Swedish parents, Rosenquist was encouraged to pursue painting by his mother, who was also an artist. He studied painting for two years at the University of Minnesota, but dropped out at the age of 21 to attend the Art Students League in New York on a scholarship. A job as a billboard painter in the late 1950s set him up to pursue his signature style, which borrowed its bold graphics and remixed kitschy aesthetic from the visual vocabulary of advertising. Works like Flamingo Capsule (1983) embody his trademark visual dissonance, drawing cigarette-ad motifs into conversation with stripes from the American flag and aluminum foil wrappers.

In addition to enormous paintings, Rosenquist created drawings, prints and collages. The 2011 lithograph The Memory Continues but the Clock Disappears is a montage of melting clocks and confetti, all submerged in a pool of water. While wryly hinting at the inevitability of decay and deterioration — suggesting that life is a ticking clock — the composition also alludes to Salvador Dalí's signature motif, the defining symbol of Surrealism. Such compositions demonstrate how Rosenquist masterfully combined seemingly incongruous elements into a harmonious and poetic whole.

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