April 1, 2017 / 8:56 PM / 6 months ago

Pop art pioneer James Rosenquist dies at 83

FILE PHOTO - Visitors view U.S. artist James Rosenquist's "Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt" (1998) on display by the Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York at the Art 37 in Basel, June 13, 2006. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

(Reuters) - Artist James Rosenquist, a leading figure of the 1960s pop art movement known for his room-sized works, has died at the age of 83, his studio said.

Rosenquist helped define the genre of color-bursting displays of common objects that was also championed by the likes Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

He died on Friday, the studio said, without providing further details.

Rosenquist had early experience as a billboard painter, which became a springboard for presentations of images that he culled from sources including print advertisements and magazines, it said.

He had shows in some of the world’s most celebrated museums, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, it said.

“Painting is probably much more exciting than advertising,” Rosenquist was quoted as saying by the Museum of Modern Art.

“So why shouldn’t it be done with that power and gusto, with that impact.”

One of his more celebrated works is ”F-111,’ which is billboard in size and made in 1964 and 1965, during the U.S. war in Vietnam. It combines images including a U.S. military warplane, a bombing and scenes of American prosperity, including a smiling blonde girl sitting under a hair dryer reminiscent of a missile, the museum said.

His celebrated 1962 painting of Marilyn Monroe was created shortly after her death and shows fragmented images of the global star that includes a segment of the Coca-Cola brand name, it said.

Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota where he had a nomadic life that took him and his parents to about a half dozen places including in Minnesota and Ohio. He studied at the University of Minnesota and moved to New York in his twenties.

“Painting has everything to do with memory. Images of the unexpected, the surreal, well up unbidden in your mind - as do things you haven’t resolved,” he said in his autobiography written with David Dalton titled “Painting Below Zero.”

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz

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