Edward Ruscha

b. 1937, American

"Course of Empire," 2005

Color lithograph on B.F.K. Rives paper under Plexiglas, Hamilton Press, Venice, CA, pub., with full margins
Edition 17/50, signed and dated in pencil lower right: Ed Ruscha, edition numbered in pencil lower left, with the blindstamp for Hamilton Press, Venice, CA, with the watermark for B.F.K. Rives, numbered verso: EH580-05ER
Sheet: 18" H x 15.25" W; Image: 11.5" H x 9.25" W

  • Notes: Ed Ruscha is among the most celebrated Los Angeles pop artists. His oeuvre incorporates cheeky text and glorifies seemingly banal imagery, often with a playful perspective inspired by advertising. In the present work, Ruscha employs his clever sense of humor to pay false tribute to one of American art's most iconic painting cycles, Thomas Cole's Course of Empire (1834-36). The epic nineteenth-century series was painted on five canvases, which together expressed an inevitable forward march of progress in western civilization. Such a notion has come to be perceived with increasing scrutiny and criticism by revisionist historians. The utilitarian architecture of Ruscha's tire shops and trade schools denounce Cole's thesis, while likewise acknowledging their inescapable global ubiquity.
  • Condition: Generally good condition. The paper with deckled edges. Framed floating and hinged to the back mat with artist's tape in the upper corners.

    Frame: 19.5" H x 16.5" W x 1.5" D

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February 23, 2021 12:00 PM PST
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