113
113

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED WEST COAST COLLECTION

Ed Ruscha
ROMEO
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 1,212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
113

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED WEST COAST COLLECTION

Ed Ruscha
ROMEO
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 1,212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Ed Ruscha
B. 1937
ROMEO
signed and dated 1981
pastel on paper
23 by 29 in. 58.4 by 73.7 cm.
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This work will be included in Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper, Volume 2: 1977-1997, edited by Lisa Turvey (forthcoming).

Provenance

Galleria del Cavallino, Venice
Francoise Lambert, Paris
Richard and Lia Polsky, Santa Monica
James Corcoran Gallery, Los Angeles
Robert A. Rowan, Pasadena (acquired from the above in 1988)
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Venice, Galleria del Cavallino, Edward Ruscha, April - May 1983

Catalogue Note

Sotheby’s is delighted to present four works on paper by Ed Ruscha dating from 1972-1982 from a distinguished West Coast Collection. All four works were acquired directly by the present owner from the noteworthy collection of Robert A. Rowan—the prominent California collector who was not only a founding trustee, President and driving force behind the Pasadena Art Museum, but also a founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Assembled together by this visionary West Coast collector, these four works on paper display a compelling cross-section of Ruscha’s mastery as a draftsman across a range of media over the course of his prodigious career. In her essay describing Rowan’s enduring contribution to the legacy and understanding of the art of Southern California in the second half of the 20th century, Katherine Bishop Crum noted Rowan’s unparalleled eye and passion for Ruscha: “Rowan bought a number of paintings over the years by Ruscha. Some have words, some do not. In a variety of ways, at various times, these [works] explore Ruscha’s fundamental observations about the interplay between sign and referent; between the experience before us and the memory we bring to it; and the way we translate this experience into symbols. Ruscha’s ‘subject’ is the observation of how symbols operate in memory, regardless of whether they are words or visual representations” (Katherine Bishop Crum, Exh. Cat., Oakland, Mills College Art Museum, The Rowan Collection: Passion and Patronage, Painting in Los Angeles and New York, 1999).

These works evidence a keen curatorial eye and daring intellect in their selection, while collectively showcasing the stunning wit, boundless experimentation and unrivaled artistic creativity of Ruscha—an artist who has come to define and transcend the American artistic canon for almost six-decades. This particular selection of works on paper is from a ten-year period integral to Ruscha’s stylistic development, with each work highlighting the artist’s unabashed creative fervor and innovative material experimentation. Margit Rowell commented on the consummate power of Ruscha’s drawings on the occasion of the Whitney Museum’s exhibition of the artist’s drawings in 2004, writing, “However, if the camera traditionally captures reality, it also distorts reality, even more so, one might suppose, when the camera is in the mind's eye...The result is a body of images that purport to document ‘the here and now,’ but which have been filtered through a lens that is neither objective nor real. Yes, Ruscha's eye is a camera, but it is like none other, which is why his drawings are unsettling and unique" (Margit Rowell, Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, New York 2004, p. 25). Papers (1972), Corn Eyes (1977), Romeo (1981), and Motel Management School (1982), crafted during a decade of extreme productivity and creative ingenuity for the artist and superbly accomplished in pastel, gunpowder, and watercolor, demonstrate a lens that though ‘neither objective nor real’ are unmistakably the vision of the enigmatic Ed Ruscha. 


"If I'm influenced by the movies it's from way down underneath, not just on the surface. A lot of my paintings [and drawings] are anonymous backdrops for the drama of words...It's so simple and the backgrounds are of no particular character. They're just meant to support the drama." Ed Ruscha 

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York