James Rosenquist was an American painter regarded as one of the chief artists of the Pop Art movement. He is best known for his enormous collage paintings drawn from advertisements and popular culture. His paintings are so large, they cover entire gallery walls, completely enveloping the viewer in his assemblage of consumer goods, weapons, celebrities, etc. The artist’s fascination with pop culture reflected his social, political, and cultural concerns.
Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1933. His mother, an amateur painter, fostered her son’s creativity by frequently taking him to art classes and museums. In 1952, Rosenquist began studying at the University of Minnesota under the painter Cameron Booth, an Abstract Expressionist who had worked under renowned painter Hans Hofmann. During university, Rosenquist worked as a commercial artist hand painting large-scale signs and billboards. The materials and techniques used for advertising greatly inspired his work. He was one of the first artists to address the exploitative power of the deceptive and omnipresent qualities of advertising.
Rosenquist’s oeuvre has inspired generations of artists. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, the MoMA, and the Whitney Museum in New York, NY, as well as The Museum of Fine Art in Houston, Texas. His works can also be found in many prominent galleries and museums internationally.