James Rosenquist, American Artist, 1933 – 2017, Pop Art

James Rosenquist pioneered in pop art movement by narrating craftsmanship into his oeuvres made a 20th-century intriguing artist; known as one of the best ambassadors and inspiring symbol of American Art alongside other famous contemporaries like Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein. Rosenquist conceptual demonstration and outstanding articulation made him a prominent figure of the genre, widely acclaimed for his distinctive style drawn from commercial art deeply influenced his career practicing techniques, and depiction of everyday object and imagery constituting surrealism and accentuating the prodigious nature of pieces of advertisement and cultural images in oddly combined manner for the presentation of social and political issues.

James Rosenquist was born in North Dakota on November 29, 1933, to a Swedish origin family. He was encouraged by his mother to pursue artistic interests, studied at Minneapolis School of Art and entered into painting cadre at the University of Minnesota. Art Students League scholarship leads him to move to New York changed him to study under teachers like George Grosz and Edwin Dickinson, explaining his learning course, the painter said that he studied with abstract and commercial artists and was ambitious to learn painting the Sistine Chapel. He earned his livelihood as billboard painter around Time Square which he abandoned due to the incident of coworker’s death during the job.

Instead of working on popular imagery, Rosenquist specifies his process of amplifying the billboard-style on smaller canvases, utilizing the visual language of advertisement into his artistries dragged the emerging painter to reconsider his signature style and techniques. The Zone functioned as the foundation stone in James Rosenquist artwork and served as a shift from his old work due to the exhaustion of abstract expressionism, the artwork characterizes as the inclusion into the pop art movement setting a course and inspiration that artist took from mass media and appropriation of such methodology and popular orientations framed him as a key figure in development of Pop Art by dedication and distinctiveness which last till the end of his career.

House of Fire, 1981. Oil on canvas. 6′ 6″ x 16′ 6″ (198.1 x 502.9 cm) [78″ x 198″]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
James Rosenquist “President-Elect” was one of the most widely acclaimed pieces during early sixties, translating a portrait of John F Kennedy as a symbol of prosperous America alongside the depiction of growth with back of Chevrolet and overlaid picture of hand holding cake, icons in pop culture to testify the association between the consumer and advertisement symbolizes the popularity and iconography in politics, mass media and to mesmerize a sense of modern life. In 1962, he had quite successful first solo exhibition at Green Gallery in New York and involved in all revolutionary group exhibitions that repute pop art as a movement.

President-Elect (1960-61)

James Rosenquist

One thought on “James Rosenquist, American Artist, 1933 – 2017, Pop Art

  • December 26, 2019 at 5:16 am

    Hello.This article was really fascinating, especially because I was searching for thoughts on this subject last couple of days.


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