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James Rosenquist

BIOGRAPHY

B. 1933 -

 

James Rosenquist is an acclaimed American artist. Throughout his career, he applied techniques used in his commercial billboard painting to his artwork, in a collage-like manner, using juxtaposed images from advertising and mass media such as car parts, canned spaghetti and movie stars and applying them to fine art. His broad themes related to an American culture of consumerism, and his painting from the early 1960s are pictorial narratives of contemporary America.

He was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In junior high school, Rosenquist won a short-term scholarship to study at the Minneapolis School of Art and subsequently studied painting at the University of Minnesota from 1952 to 1954. In 1955 he moved to New York City on scholarship to study at the Art Students League.

From 1957 to 1960, he earned his living as a billboard painter which turned out to be perfect training for the emerging artist. Rosenquist achieved international acclaim in 1965 with the room-scale painting F-111.

While Rosenquist befriended artists such as Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Andy Warhol and many others, most of whom were very important in Pop Art, he has shied away from being called a pop artist. While Rosenquist used many of the same images, he was not mocking the media like the others.

In addition to painting, he has produced a vast array of prints, drawings and collages. One of his prints, Time Dust (1992), is thought to be the largest print in the world, measuring approximately 7 x 35 feet. Since his first early career retrospectives in 1972 organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, he has been the subject of several gallery and museum exhibitions, both in the United States and abroad. He continues to produce large- scale commissions and his work has continued to develop in exciting ways and is an ongoing influence on younger generations of artists.