James Rosenquist, F-111, 1974.
Photo: Courtesy of Phillips

Auction of the Week: Pop Art Print by James Rosenquist Sets World Record at Phillips

At the recent sale in New York, the monumental work fetched nearly eight times its presale estimate

One of the original Pop artists, James Rosenquist is widely celebrated for his bold images of everyday consumerism and American life that dominated the 20th century. While perhaps not as famous as his peer Andy Warhol, Rosenquist’s recent exhibition and sale at Phillips revealed an exciting newfound interest in his works.

From February 1 to 14, there were nearly 50 pieces spanning the late artist’s printmaking from 1965 to 2012 on view at the auction house’s New York headquarters. The highlight of the white-glove sale on February 15 was Rosenquist’s monumental F-111, which achieved $228,600, nearly eight times its estimate of between $30,000 to $50,000. It marks a world record for this set.

James Rosenquist, F-111, 1974. Photo: Courtesy of Phillips

The largest Rosenquist print auction and exhibition to date marked the first time the works were offered for sale publicly, after having long been in the collection of the artist’s family. A trailblazing printmaker, he pushed the boundaries of the craft with innovative techniques to comment on American life. F-111, created in 1974, is six feet long, comprising four lithographs, and is based on a massive 86-foot-long history painting of the same name that is on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The auction house also noted that the individual lithographs are named South, West, North, and East “after the direction of the wall in Leo Castelli’s gallery where each painting would have originally been hung.” In the background of one of the panels is a cluster of bright orange spaghetti, a recurring theme for the artist.

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Rosenquist recalled, “I remember thinking, how terrible that taxpayers’ money is being spent on this war weapon that is going to rain death down on some innocent population halfway around the world for some purpose we don’t even understand, while at the same time this warplane is providing a lucrative lifestyle for aircraft workers in Texas and on Long Island.

“It’s exciting to introduce these prints to a new group of collectors who are discovering Rosenquist for the first time and re-introduce him in this robust context to seasoned collectors and scholars,” commented Cary Leibowitz and Kelly Troester, Worldwide Co-Heads of Editions and Deputy Chairpersons, Americas.

Cover: James Rosenquist, F-111, 1974.
Photo: Courtesy of Phillips


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