Ed
Ruscha

Discover art for sale. Buy and sell prints & editions online by American Pop artist Ed Ruscha. His text-based work is bold and direct in its aesthetic.

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Biography

The influence of Ruscha’s time working in an LA Ad agency is clear in his bold, pop works that combine text, image and colour to unique effect. Combining text, colour, and image, Ruscha’s artworks often engage with the American landscape. Saturated with the ironies of US consumer culture, the artist’s work recreates a variety of bold, hard-edged, and resolutely ‘all American’ iconographies, repurposing them as a means for social comment.

Hurting The Word Radio No.2 by Ed Ruscha

Image © Christies's / Hurting The Word Radio 2 © Ed Ruscha 1964

1. £40.9M for Ed Ruscha's Hurting The Word Radio No.2

In November of 2019, Hurting The Word Radio No. 2 (1964) became the most expensive work of art by ex-commercial artist and foremost proponent of the American Pop Art movement, Ed Ruscha (pronounced roo-shay). 

It realised an astonishing US$52.4 million at Christie’s New York, An early example of Rusha’s text-based paintings, the record-breaking piece sets the word ‘RADIO’ against a bright blue background. Despite its concern with bold, simple text, the piece’s rendering of this word is far from simple; ‘hurting’ it with a pair of vices, Ruscha constricts and twists the text, providing his own unique take on the visually arresting iconographies of American consumer capitalism in the process.

Smash by Ed Ruscha

Image © Christie's / Smash © Ed Ruscha 1963

2. £19.2M for Ed Ruscha's Smash

In November 2014, a 1963 work by onetime commercial artist and foremost member of the US Pop Art movement, Ed Ruscha, broke a record. Entitled Smash, the artwork realised US$30,405,000 at Christie’s auction house in New York, becoming the 2nd most expensive Ruscha piece of all time. An early example of the artist’s text paintings, it is emblazoned with the words ‘SMASH’, and references the bold, typographic basis of American commercial advertising of the 1950s and 60s. In doing so, it is imbued with Ruscha’s own origins as a member of the art department at a major Los Angeles advertising agency.


Annie by Ed Ruscha

Image © Christie's / Annie © Ed Ruscha 1966

3. £18.2M for Ed Ruscha's Annie

Annie is one of American Pop Artist Ed Ruscha’s most iconic works. On the 10th July 2020 it realised an enormous US$22,975,000 at auction at Christie’s New York, making it Ruscha’s 3rd most expensive work to-date. Annie showcases the painterly origins of another of Ruscha’s later works, Annie, Poured From Maple Syrup (1966), a mixed-media piece that once graced the walls of the Norton Simon museum in Ruscha’s adoptive home of California. An early work – and turning point – in Ruscha’s œuvre, Annie recreates the logo of American comic strip, Annie (1962). According the simple text a monumental stature, the work measures nearly six feet in height.


Ripe by Ed Ruscha

Image © Christie's / Ripe © Ed Ruscha 1967

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