10 Things to Know About… James Rosenquist

James Rosenquist, President Elect, 1960

James Rosenquist is famous for his colossal collage paintings of enigmatically juxtaposed fragmentary images borrowed largely from advertisements and mass media. His collage art is pieced together and enlarged to cover every gallery wall and amaze the viewer with seemingly unrelated images of consumer goods, guns and celebrities. They allude to the social, political and cultural interests of the artist.

The artist has been creating his large-scale paintings for six decades. The continued relevance of his artistic legacy depends on its involvement in current economic, political, environmental and scientific issues.

We invite you to discover 10 things you need to know about James Rosenquist, an emblematic figure of Pop Art.

James Rosenquist’s works of art have a disparate range of value.

His works show a big difference in price. Some of his sketches cost as little as 300 euros, while his most expensive painting costs nearly 2.5 million euros.

He was the king of matching.

James Rosenquist, A Swimmer in the Economist, 1997

All of Rosenquist’s large-scale paintings were compiled through assembly and juxtaposition. He was a master of patchwork. He combined advertising images to create an almost Dadaist mosaic. Offering hyper-realistic and chimerical “fragments of reality”, James Rosenquist justifies the title of pop surrealist.

His collage art reflects the omnipresence of everyday objects.

James Rosenquist was particularly fond of everyday items such as spaghetti dishes, lipstick, razor blades, tires, cakes or buses, to name but a few. He had the insight to use banality to create a parallel reality while denouncing the insidious influence of consumerism.

He shared a studio with non-figurative painters.

James Rosenquist preferred to share his studio with non-figurative artists. He experimented with his art projects with Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin and Robert Rauschenberg.

He was an ardent supporter of painting.

James Rosenquist, F-111, 1964

James Rosenquist quickly established himself as a great advocate of painting. He openly supported his desire to glorify painting at the expense of television and radio.

Art by James Rosenquist shows a penchant for the XXL format.

His artistic legacy is known for their colossal formats. His past experience as an advertising artist had a profound effect on his creative process. Thanks to the resounding success, his paintings dominate the walls of museums, covering them entirely.

He composed his works with collages from advertising images.

Pop art by James Rosenquist was clearly rife with advertising references. He even made a lot of work using collages from real commercials. James Rosenquist reinvented an already sensationalized reality.

James Rosenquist’s art was inspired by experience as a commercial painter.

James Rosenquist earned a living as a billboard painter around New York City. By drawing and painting signs, he learned the tricks of the trade, use of eye-catching colors and effective compositions.

He was awarded several art scholarships.

James Rosenquist won two pivotal scholarships which paved the way for his art education. He got his first scholarship to study in the Minneapolis School of Art. At age 21, he won a second scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York City.

His mother was a painter.

As an only child, James James Rosenquist grew up with a mother who was herself a painter. She was very supportive, strongly encouraging her son to live his passion for art to the fullest.


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