James Rosenquist /   James Albert Rosenquist

United States 1933 - 2017

Pop Art


James Rosenquist
James Albert Rosenquist
United States
October 22, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

The mass-production and mass media certainly framed the work of James Rosenquist and made him as one of the most intriguing artists of the second half of 20th century. This pioneer of Pop art has constructed his authentic style by combining the skills learned from his initial art lessons with the ones absorbed from commercial jobs he did for some time. The superb concepts, immense craftsmanship and outstanding articulation of political and social issues made James Rosenquist one of the most prominent representatives of the genre.

This notable modern painter passed away in 2017 and he has contributed largely to American culture
James Rosenquist – Pink Condition, 1996

Artistic Development

James Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He grew up in a family of Swedish descent, and his parents were amateur pilots. At the age of 21, the artist moved to New York City in order to pursue on scholarship to study at the Art Students League. From 1957 to 1960, he earned money for his living as a billboard painter. Rosenquist quickly applied sign-painting techniques to the large-scale paintings he began creating in 1960. Like other pop artists, Rosenquist adapted the visual language of advertising and pop culture (often funny, vulgar, and outrageous) to the context of fine art.

One the best-known ambassadors of American art

Rosenquist was with Warhol and Lichtenstein one of the founding fathers of the Pop art movement
James Rosenquist – Military Inteligence, 1994

Enigmatic Work Method

In order to create strong narratives, Rosenquist collaged and juxtaposed fragmentary images borrowed largely from advertisements and mass media in Surrealist fashion. The overall effect was often abstract and provocative since a majority of depicted everyday objects were combined in an odd manner. The specific process of enlarging the objects and creating rather complex relations between them was an actually base of the artist’s critical agenda of American consumerist society during the 60’s. The pioneering technique and appropriation of such popular references quickly made him one of the key figures in the development of Pop, but such a devotion and critical activity lasted basically till the end of his career.

John F. Kennedy as a symbol of affluent, yet troubled America

He draw images from advertising and mass media while in contact with galleries privacy and policy
James Rosenquist – President Elect, 1960-64, detail

Early Career of James Rosenquist

In 1960 was the artist began renting a small studio in lower Manhattan popular among emerging artists at the time and his neighbors included Robert Indiana, Agnes Martin, and Ellsworth Kelly. Working in this new studio space, Rosenquist began to reconsider his approach to painting due to exhaustion of the Abstract Expressionist style. In 1962, Rosenquist had his first solo exhibition at the Green Gallery in New York which was quite of success. Very soon, Collectors and influential gallery owners like Richard Bellamy and Leo Castelli began to show interest in Rosenquist’s new paintings.

Vivid palette is one of the Rosenquest’s main features

He was established painter as Warhol was although in first couple of years they never met
James Rosenquist – F-111, Installation view, Leo Castelli Gallery, 1964-65

The Iconic Work

In 1965, James Rosenquist’s exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery his huge mural painting F-111. The piece was originally created to cover all walls of the Leo Castelli gallery in New York, and included separate compositions of a mushroom cloud under a beach umbrella, some spaghetti, a piece of cake, a Firestone tire, a swimmer, light bulbs, and a little girl under a hairdryer, all set against the backdrop of an F-111 fighter jet. The constellation drew much of attention in regards to the intense relationship between military might and consumer economics.

The interest in unconventional materials and site-specific installations

Rosenquest released the works in privacy of his studio according to his own peculiar policy
James Rosenquist – Horizon Home Sweet Home, Installation view, Leo Castelli Gallery, 1970

The Mature Period And Complete Recognition

In the 1970s, the artist began work on two murals for the State of Florida, but in 1971 the artist’s wife and son sustained serious injuries in an automobile accident, which left Rosenquist emotionally and psychologically scarred and affected his work for the next five to six years. During the following year, major retrospectives of his work were organized at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and the other at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Rosenquist rented a studio in Ybor City, Florida in 1974, whose climate and scenery has greatly influenced his style. During this time, James Rosenquist also became politically involved and pledge the government for better legislation to protect artists’ rights and protesting the Vietnam War.

Throughout the ’80s the artist continued to paint large-scale works

James Rosenquist - The Bird of Paradise Approaches the Hot Water Planet, 1989 (Left) Welcome to the Water Planet, 1987 (Right)
James Rosenquist – The Bird of Paradise Approaches the Hot Water Planet, 1989 (Left) / Welcome to the Water Planet, 1987 (Right)

The Late Work of James Rosenquist

Paintings created during the seventh decade reflect the increment of political concerns, as well as his fascination with technology, modern innovations, and their sometimes conflicting relationship with nature, so by 1980, ecological issues started overwhelming Rosenquist. His fame continued to grow and in 1987 he was admitted to the American Academy and Institute of Art and Letters in New York. Throughout the 90’s the artist mostly released large scale print, and One of them Time Dust is thought to be the largest print in the world.

In the early 1990s, James Rosenquist was the subject of major retrospective exhibitions

James Rosenquist - The Swimmer in the Econo-mist 3, 1997-98
James Rosenquist – The Swimmer in the Econo-mist 3, 1997-98

The Last Years

The unstoppable and continues the activity of Pop art legend in the 00’s even brought him the reputation as one of the few pop artists who’s work is still relevant. That is related with the fact that Rosenquist moved beyond his early fascination with popular culture and mass media to articulating new issues such as the intersection of science and aesthetics. In 2003 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum staged a full-career traveling retrospective. Sadly, in 2009, a fire swept through and burned the artist’s house, studios, and warehouse; all of his paintings stored on his property were destroyed, including art for an upcoming show.

Six impeccable decades of productive and influential career

Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist had a completely different approach and were not equally celebrated
James Rosenquist – Time Machine Illustrated, 2007 (Left) / Cervello Spazio Cosmico, 2010 (Right)

The Huge Legacy And The Impact of James Rosenquist’s Art Practice

The number of solo and group exhibitions over the years has become really big, as well as the number of works in the public and private collection. Rosenquist himself was the subject of a number of documentary films and was featured in two public television series, The Shock of the New and The Empire of the Signs: American Visions. The photographic use of advertisement imagery or ad-inspired painting can be noticed in the works of various later artist like Jeff Koons. Nevertheless, the artist’s innovation, progressive methods at the times, politically and socially charged concepts were always in accordance with contemporary moment meaning that during his lifetime James Rosenquist saw the work of art as an active element of human activity.

James lived in Florida and died on the 31st of March 2017.

Featured image: Portrait of James Rosenquist – image courtesy of EFE
All images used are courtesy of James Rosenquist studio

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014James Rosenquist - F-111 (South, West, North, East) and Drawings from the '70sSenior & Shopmaker Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2014Pop Art In America: Selections From The Nsu Museum Of Art | Fort LauderdaleLeigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WIGroup
2014From Warhol to Richeter: In between photography and printmakingMuseum Folkwang Essen, EssenGroup
2014The Crystal PalaceRachel Uffner Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014Superpop!Gösta Serlachius Museum of Fine Arts, MänttäGroup
2014Objectology - Design and ArtNational Museum of Contemporary Art Korea - Gwacheon, GwacheonGroup
2014Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau CollectionSan Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CAGroup
2014The Shaped Canvas, RevisitedLuxembourg & Dayan, New York City, NYGroup
2014Pop Art PrintsSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DCGroup
2014Garden PartyNassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NYGroup
2014Post-Picasso: Contemporary ReactionsMuseo Picasso, BarcelonaGroup
2014Pop! Andy Warhol and artists from the collection of the Housatonic Museum of ArtHousatonic Museum of Art, Bridgeport, CTGroup
2014Colección Del Ivam. Xxv AniversarioIVAM - Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, ValenciaGroup
2014Sur-RealWoodward Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013James Rosenquist's High Technology and Mysticism: A Meeting PointBoca Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FLSolo
2013Area CodeKemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MOGroup
2013Area CodeMildred Lane Kemper Art Museum - Washington Univer, Saint Louis, MOGroup
2013Galen at The GalenPalm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CAGroup
2013Made in U.S.A.: Rosenquist/RuschaMuseum of Art - Washington State University, Pullman, WAGroup
2013Private SelectionsNina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, NYGroup
2013More Than A LikenessMcClain Gallery, Houston, TXGroup
2013American Pop Art:From the John and Kimiko Powers CollectionThe National Art Center Tokyo, TokyoGroup
201330 Years ( Part One )Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - Salzburg, SalzburgGroup
2013Art as an ArgumentKunstmuseum Bayreuth, BayreuthGroup
2013American CollageGerald Peters Gallery - New York, New York City, NYGroup
2013The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop ArtAcquavella Galleries, Inc., New York City, NYGroup
2013The Time is NowJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2013Clouds - World of the Ephemeral (Wolken - Welt des Fluechtigen)Leopold Museum, ViennaGroup
2013Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau CollectionNorton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FLGroup
2013The Universal Adressability of Dumb ThingsBluecoat Gallery, LiverpoolGroup
2013The universal addressability of dumb thingsHayward Gallery, LondonGroup
2013Compelling ImagesMakeready Press Gallery, Montclair, NJGroup
2012James Rosenquist: An Exhibition Celebrating His 80Th BirthdayNorth Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, NDSolo
2012James Rosenquist: F-111MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYSolo
2012James Rosenquist: Multiverse You Are, I AmAcquavella Galleries, New York  Solo
2012Leben Mit Pop!Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, LeipzigGroup
2012The New York Collection for StockholmGeorgia Museum of Art, Athens, GAGroup
2012Works on Paper - Summer Sale - An international collectionArt Affairs Gallery, AmsterdamGroup
2012First choice. master piecesGalerie Terminus, MunichGroup
2012AccrochageGalerie Klaus Benden, CologneGroup
2012The Joys of Collecting: Selections from the Eisen CollectionMOCA - Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FLGroup
2012Kind of BlueLarissa Goldston Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012FootprintsTripoli Gallery of Contemporary Art, Southampton, NYGroup
2012In the Garden: EditionsLarissa Goldston Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012The Domestic Sphere Goes PopUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst, MAGroup
2012Arcadia in Celle: Art for Nature and Nature for ArtFondation Maeght, Saint-PaulGroup
2012Modern Impressions: 20th Century Prints From The Appleton CollectionAppleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FLGroup
2012Master Prints: Butler CollectionThe Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OHGroup
2012Il Fuoco della Natura - Salone Degli IncantiEx Pescheria Centrale, TriesteGroup
2012You Call This ArtFlorida Gulf Coast University Art Gallery, Fort Myers, FLGroup
2012Ulae | Universal Limited Art EditionsGreg Kucera Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2011The Private Collection of Robert RauschenbergGagosian Gallery , New York City, NYGroup
2011Contemporary Drawings from the Irving Stenn Jr. CollectionThe Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILGroup
2011Masterpieces Of The 20th Century From The Collection Of The Valencia Institute Of Modern Art (ivam)Moscow museum of modern art - MMOMA, MoscowGroup
2011Ileana Sonnabend: An Italian PortraitSonnabend Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Pop! Into SummerRosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, FLGroup
2011Hyper Real – Kunst und Amerika um 1970Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, AachenGroup
2010James Rosenquist: The Hole in the Middle of Time and The Hole in the WallpaperAcquavella Galleries, New York Solo
2008James Rosenquist: The Hole in the Center of TimeJablonka Galerie, Berlin, Germany Solo
2007James Rosenquist: The Speed of Light and BeyondSilvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, ConnecticutSolo
2007James Rosenquist: Time BladesAcquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New YorkSolo
2006James RosenquistMiami Art Museum, Miami, FloridaSolo
2006Welcome to the Water Planet: Paperworks by James RosenquistNational Gallery of Australia, Canberra, AustraliaSolo
2006James Rosenquist: Print Retrospective, 1965-2005Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OhioSolo
2006James RosenquistHaunch of Venison, London, EnglandSolo
2005James Rosenquist: Ten Paintings, 1965-2004; Collage, 1987Givon Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, IsraelSolo
2005James Rosenquist: MonochromesAcquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New York, New YorkSolo
2004James Rosenquist: Prints from the '80s and '90s . Godt-Cleary Projects, Las Vegas, NevadaSolo
2004James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet . Galerie ArtPoint der Ferratec AG, Rudolfstetten, SwitzerandSolo
2003James Rosenquist: A Retrospective .The Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TexasSolo
2003James Rosenquist: A Retrospective .Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New YorkSolo
2003James Rosenquist: A Retrospective .Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, SpainSolo
2003James Rosenquist: A Retrospective .Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, GermanySolo
2003James Rosenquist: Recent PaintingsMcCain Gallery, Houston, TexasSolo
2003James Rosenquist: Selected Works on Paper . Leo Castelli, New York, New YorkSolo
2003James Rosenquist Prints: A Mini-RetrospectiveJim Kempner Fine Art, New YorkSolo
2003James Rosenquist .AXA Gallery, New YorkSolo
2003James RosenquistRobert Miller Gallery Temporary Annex Space, New YorkSolo
2003James Rosenquist: Collages . Jacobson Howard Gallery, New YorkSolo
2003Rosenquist in Florida: Major Prints . Barbara Gillman Gallery, Miami, FloridaSolo
2001James Rosenquist: The Stowaway Peers Out at the Speed of Light.  Gagosian Gallery, 555 West 24th Street, New York, New YorkSolo
2000James Rosenquist: PaintingsSalvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, FloridaSolo
1999James Rosenquist, Meteors: New PaintingsBaldwin Gallery, Aspen, ColoradoSolo
1998James Rosenquist: The Swimmer in the Econo-mistDeutsche Guggenheim Berlin, Berlin, GermanySolo
1998James Rosenquist, After Berlin: New PaintingsFeigen Contemporary, New York, New YorkSolo
1997James Rosenquist: Singapore, Three Large PaintingsGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
1997The Graphics of James RosenquistCenter of Contemporary Graphic Art and Tyler Graphics Archive Collection, Fukushima, JapanSolo
1997James RosenquistLeo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1997James Rosenquist: New Works 1996Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore, SingaporeSolo
1996James Rosenquist: New Paintings and Constructions  Indigo Galleries, Inc., Boca Raton, FloridaSolo
1996James Rosenquist: A Retrospective of Prints Made at Graphicstudio 1971-1996Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, Tampa, FloridaSolo
1996James Rosenquist: 4E77St 1970 Revisited (And New Paper Pieces from Gemini G.E.L.)Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
1996James Rosenquist: Target PracticeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceSolo
1996James Rosenquist: Target PracticeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
1996James Rosenquist: Target PracticeFeigen Incorporated, Chicago, IllinoisSolo
1996James Rosenquist: Painting and Prints from Leo Castelli ,  Castelli Graphics and the Artist . Brenau University, Gainesville, GeorgiaSolo
1996James Rosenquist: New Paper ConstructionsGemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
1995James Rosenquist: Recent Work.  The Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon. Solo
1995James Rosenquist: The Big Paintings.  PYO Gallery, Seoul, South Korea. Solo
1995James Rosenquist Paintings.  Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington. Solo
1995James Rosenquist: Gli anni novanta.  Civico Museo Revoltella, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Trieste, Italy. Solo
1994James Rosenquist: Gift Wrapped Dolls.  Richard L. Feigen and Co., London, England. Solo
1994James Rosenquist: The 30th Anniversary Exhibition.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1994James Rosenquist-Paintings.  Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore, Singapore. Solo
1993James Rosenquist.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1993James Rosenquist: Prints.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, New York. Solo
1993James Rosenquist: Recent Paintings . Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. Solo
1993James Rosenquist: Recent Paintings . Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria. Solo
1993James Rosenquist.  Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. Solo
1993James Rosenquist: Gift Wrapped Dolls or Serenade for the Doll after Claude Debussy.  Feigen, Incorporated, Chicago, Illinois. Solo
1992James Rosenquist: The Early Pictures 1961-1964.  Gagosian Gallery, New York, New YorkSolo
1992James Rosenquist: Paintings 1990-1992.  Galeria Weber, Alexander y Cobo, Madrid, SpainSolo
1992James Rosenquist: Recent Paintings . Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France. Solo
1991Rosenquist: Moscow 1961-1991.  Tretyakov Gallery, Central Hall of Artists, Moscow, U.S.S.R. Solo
1991James Rosenquist.  IVAM, Centre Julio González, Valencia, Spain. Solo
1990James Rosenquist: Never Mind, from Thoughts to Drawing.  Universal Limited Art Editions, New YorkSolo
1990James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet.Museum of Modern Art, New YorkSolo
1990James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet.Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, TexasSolo
1990James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet.University of Missouri, Kansas City, MissouriSolo
1990James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet.University Art Museum, University of California, Santa BarbaraSolo
1990James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet.Center for the Arts, Vero Beach, FloridaSolo
1990James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet.University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, KentuckySolo
1990James Rosenquist.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1989James Rosenquist: Flashlife.  Richard L. Feigen & Co., Chicago, Illinois. Solo
1989James Rosenquist: New Paintings.  Richard L. Feigen & Co., London, England. Solo
1989James Rosenquist: New Prints from Tyler Graphics.  Heland-Wetterling Galleries, Stockholm, Sweden.Solo
1988James Rosenquist: Through the Eye of the Needle to the Anvil.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, New York. Solo
1988James Rosenquist: New Work.  Richard L. Feigen & Co., Chicago, Illinois. Solo
1988Rosenquist/Memphis: Works by James Rosenquist.  University Gallery at Memphis State, Memphis, Tennessee. Solo
1987James Rosenquist: One Painting and One Print.  Heland-Thordén-Wetterling Galleries, Stockholm, Sweden. Solo
1987James Rosenquist.Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, FranceSolo
1987James Rosenquist: Paintings 1987.  Heland-Thordén-Wetterling Galleries, Stockholm, Sweden. Solo
1986James Rosenquist Prints: Ladies of the Opera Terrace.  Heland-Thordén-Wetterling Galleries, Stockholm, Sweden. Solo
1985James Rosenquist: The Persistence of Electrical Nymphs in Space.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1984James Rosenquist: New Paintings.  Heland-Thordén-Wetterling Galleries, Stockholm, Sweden. Solo
1983James Rosenquist.  Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, Florida.Solo
1983James Rosenquist: Paintings & Works on Paper.  Van Straaten Gallery, Chicago, Illinois. Solo
1983James Rosenquist.  Thordén-Wetterling Galleries, Göteborg, Sweden. Solo
1983James Rosenquist.  Leo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1982James Rosenquist: House of Fire.  Castelli-Feigen-Corcoran Gallery, New YorkSolo
1982James Rosenquist: Paintings from the Sixties.  The Mayor Gallery, London, England. Solo
1982James Rosenquist at Colorado State University.  Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. Solo
1982James Rosenquist: Reflector-Deflector.  Castelli-Feigen-Corcoran Gallery, New YorkSolo
1981James Rosenquist: Star Thief.Leo Castelli Gallery, New YorkSolo
1981James Rosenquist: Selected Prints.  Castelli-Goodman-Solomon Gallery, East Hampton, New York. Solo
1981High Technology and Mysticism: A Meeting Point.  The Dolly Fiterman Art Gallery, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota. Solo
1980James Rosenquist: New Paintings and Sculpture.  Castelli-Feigen-Corcoran Gallery, New YorkSolo
1980James Rosenquist.  Texas Gallery, Houston, Texas. Solo