Early in the Morning (Primary Title)

James Rosenquist, American, 1933-2017 (Artist)

oil on canvas, plastic
United States
Overall (two panels): 95 × 56 in. (241.3 × 142.24 cm)
Not on view

“I don’t think of my work ever as a complete thing. I think of it as a tool to get someone off into their own vision.” —James Rosenquist

Rosenquist’s early experience as a billboard painter in Times Square shaped his approach to art. In his paintings, Rosenquist adopts ready-made images from magazines, packaging, ads, movies, and television. He fragments, enlarges, and rearranges them in unexpected, and unexpectedly thought-provoking, combinations. Each element of this composition—cloudy sky, sliced orange, pocket comb, and striding legs—evokes innumerable associations, yet the painting’s meaning remains elusive. Like a dream or a memory, Rosenquist’s work challenged us to leave logic behind and enter into an odd and hallucinatory world.

Gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis
James Rosenquist, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, April 12 – May 19, 1972

James Rosenquist: Gëmalde, Räume, Graphik, Wallraf-Richartz-Museums, Cologne, Germany, January 29 – March 12, 1972; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Painting and Sculpture: 1940-1970, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, 1969

James Rosenquist, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, January - March 1968

Pittsburgh International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, October 1964 – January 1965

James Rosenquist Exhibition, Green Gallery, New York, NY, 1964
(Green Gallery, New York) by 1964. Robert Scull, New York; (Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York) by 1973; [1] Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Sydeny and Frances Lewis, Virginia, in October of 1973; Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in December of 1985.

[1] Lot #34, sale #3558, October 18, 1973. See auction catalogue, A Selection of Fifty Works from the Collection of Robert C. Scull (New York: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1973).
©artist or artist’s estate

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