October 11, 2015


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Lot 215: Ed Ruscha

Lot 215: Ed Ruscha


8-color screenprint on paper
#68 of 100
Published and printed by the artist
Signed and dated "E. Ruscha 1968" with edition in graphite lower left sheet
Image: 12.5" x 40.5"; Sheet: 17.5" x 44.5"; Frame: 21" x 48"
Provenance: Brooke Alexander, Inc., New York, New York;
Private Collection, Santa Barbara, California (acquired directly from the above, 1969)
Literature: Edward Ruscha: Editions, 1959-1999: Catalogue Raisonné. 1st ed. Vol II. S. Engberg and C. Phillpot. 1999. #7.
Estimate: $75,000 - $100,000
Price Realized: $137,500
Inventory Id: 20214

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From One LA Icon to Another: Ed Ruscha and the Hollywood Sign

After moving to Los Angeles from Oklahoma City in 1956 to study graphic design at the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts), Ed Ruscha (b. 1937) quickly gained his footing in the art scene and found early success as one of the "Cool School" associated with the Ferus Gallery. His start in commercial art influences his oeuvre: though he defies categorization with a varied output of photo-collages, paintings, prints, drawings, and books; his ironic words and deadpan style place him in the company of Pop artists. He often references the city's vernacular and culture with conceptual word games.

In Hollywood (1968) Ruscha uses an actual sign as his text, one that is an iconic image and a stand-in itself for the City of Angels, in a long format, as if in reference to the silver screen. The artist had a studio in East Hollywood for a number of years. "I would look out my window there, and if I could see the Hollywood sign I'd know the weather wasn't too smoggy," he said. Hollywood is a screenprint from an edition of 100, which he published and printed himself, using a split fountain technique so that several colors were run together directly onto the screen, creating modulations of blended colors. The Hollywood sign appears for the first time in this edition. Ruscha would later revisit the image, and in 1977 he painted the sign large-scale from another angle, which would become an iconic painting of his.

Tomkins, Calvin. "An artist in the right place. " Profiles sec. The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 1 July 2013. Web. 16 Aug 2015.