James Rosenquist (American, b.1933) is notorious for being the most openly political artist associated with the Pop Art movement. His mother was also a painter and encouraged her son to pursue his interest in art. Rosenquist studied art at the University of Minnesota under the artist Cameron Booth, and spent summers working as a contractor, becoming skilled in the realm of commercial painting. He painted his first billboard in 1954, and a year later was awarded a scholarship to attend the Art Students League in New York. After completing his studies, he began a career as a commercial billboard painter, excelling in his trade and laying the foundations for his later large-scale compositions. In 1960 he took a one-year hiatus to devote himself entirely to his artistic career, and developed a unique style of painting on the scale of a commercial billboard.

His fragmented imagery drew from many commercial, social, and political sources, often with sharply political implications. During the Vietnam War, Rosenquist continued to paint on a large scale but became more openly critical of the American military-industrial complex, resulting in such controversial works as F-111 Bomber, which fuses images of the American Dream with darker suggestions of nuclear war, missiles, and the emblematic U.S. fighter-bomber. Works like F-111 critique American consumerism by echoing the very means and scale by which consumers are informed. By using the distinct scale of advertising, Rosenquist’s work transcends the limitations of a traditionally-sized painting to present a disjointed view of society from afar.


Born November 29 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Parents Louis and Ruth Rosenquist of Swedish descent. Family settles in Minneapolis in 1942
Won junior high school scholarship to study art at the Minneapolis School of Art
Attended the University of Minneapolis and studied with Cameron Booth. Visited The Art Institute of Chicago to study old masters and 19th century paintings. Painted storage bins, grain elevators, and gasoline tanks during the summer. Works for General Outdoor Advertising, Minneapolis and painted commercial billboards
Received scholarship to the Art Students League, New York: studies with Morris Kantor, George Grosz and Edwin Dickinson
Became a member of the International Sign, Pictorial and Display Union, local 230. Employed by A.H. Villerpigue, Inc., General Outdoor Advertising, Brooklyn, and Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation. Painted billboards in the Times Square area and other parts of New York
Quit working for Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation. rents a loft at 3- Coenties Slip; neighbours include painters Jack Youngerman, Ellsworth Kelly, and Robert Indiana
Painted ’Zone’ (1961), first studio painting to employ commercial techniques
Commissioned by Philip Johnson to paint mural for the New York World’s Fair, New York State Pavilion. exhibits in ‘Americans 1963’ at the Museum of Modern Art in the ’Six painters and the object’ at the Solomon R Guggenheim museum
Moved to Long Island
Lobbied in Washington, D.C. with Marion Javits and Robert Rauschenberg for a law to allow artists to get a 15% royalty after the art work has been resold
Built a house and studio with Gilbert Flores, architect, in Aripeka, FL
Purchased building on Chamber Street, NY. In Florida, painted a number of 15 feet paintings for Leo Castelli
Appointed to six-year term as member of the National Council on the Arts, Washington, D.C.
Painted ‘Star Thief’, 17’ x 46’
F-111 is sold at Sotheby’s for $2.09 million for the estate of Robert C. Scull
Nominated into the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York
Received Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement, Nashville, Tennessee. Exhibits ‘Through the Eye of the Needle to the Anvil’ (1988), 17’ x 46’, at Leo Castelli gallery, New York
Completed ceiling mural for the Palais de Chaillot in Paris for the 50th anniversary signing of the Rights of Man by Eleanor Roosevelt
Lives and works in Aripeka, Florida, USA


Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection - Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
The Pop Object: The Still Life Tradition in Pop Art - Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York City, NY
James Rosenquist: F-111 - MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
James Rosenquist - Greenfield Sacks Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
The Hole In The Middle Of Time And The Hole In The Wallpaper - Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York City, NY
Jacobson Howard Gallery, New York, NY
Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City, NY
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY
Armand Bartos Fine Art, New York, NY
Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
Acquavella Galleries, Art Basel 2009, Basel, Switzerland
Pop and Op, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY
Modern Prints - Klassische Moderne bis Pop Art, Galerie Proarta, Zurich, Switzerland
J. Rosenquist, D. LaChapelle, S. Levine, P.Taaffe: REVERB, Jablonka Galerie, Berlin, Germany
James Rosenquist: The Hole in the Center of Time, Jablonka Galerie, Berlin, Germany
When Art Worlds Colldie - The 60's, Woodward Gallery, New York, NY
James Rosenquist: Time Blades, Acquavella Galleries, New York, NY (solo)
James Rosenquist: The Speed of Light and Beyond, Silvermine Guild Arts Center, New Canaan, CT (solo)
Works on Paper, Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL
James Rosenquist, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL (solo)
James Rosenquist: Monochromes, Acquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New York, NY (solo)
James Rosenquist: Welcome to the Water Planet, Galerie ArtPoint der Ferratec AG, Rudolfstetten, Switzerland (solo)
A Retrospective The Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX (Moving to the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Guggenheim, Bilbao)
James Rosenquist: Recent Paintings’at Robert McClain Gallery, Houston, TX
American Pop Icons at the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum at the Venetian, Las Vegas, NV
James Rosenquist Collages Opening exhibition at Jacobson Howard, New York, NY
James Rosenquist: Selected Works on Paper, Leo Castelli, New York, NY (solo)
James Rosenquist: The Stowaway Peers Out at the Speed of Light, Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
James Rosenquist: Paintings/James Rosenquist: Selects Dali at the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL
One Man exhibition entitled Meteors: New Paintings at Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO (solo)
The Swimmer in the Econo-mist was shown at the opening exhibition of the Massachusetts Guggenheim Museum of Contemporary Art
The Summer in the Econo-mist is exhibited at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, Germany
New Paintings, After Berlin shown at Feigen Contemporary, New York, NY
Singapore shown at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris, France
New works exhibited at Wetterling Teo Gallery in Singapore
James Rosenquist: Three Large Paintings, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France (solo)
The Graphics of James Rosenquist, Center for Contemporary Graphic Art and Tyler Graphics (solo)
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris, France and Salzburg, Austria and a Feigen Incorporated in Chicago, IL (solo)
James Rosenquist: 4 E 77 St 1970 Revisited and New Paper Constructions from Gemini G.E.L., Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
PYO Gallery in Seoul, South Korea and Civico Museo Revoltella in Trieste, Italy (solo)
Commemorates 30 years with Leo Castelli Gallery with the exhibition ‘The Big paintings, Thirty Years’
Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore (solo)
Recent painting exhibitions at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg, Austria
Gift Wrapped Doll paintings exhibited at Feigen Incorporated, Chicago, IL
The Complete Graphics: 1962—1992, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
The Serenade for the Doll after Claude Debussy or Gift Wrapped Dolls, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
The Early Picture 1961-64 exhibited at Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
Retrospective exhibition at the Central Hall of Artists, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow and at IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia, Spain
Exhibits Through the Eye of the Needle to the Anvil (1988), 17’ x 46’, at Leo Castelli gallery, New York, NY
James Rosenquist and Maurice Sanchez: Artist and Printer, A Decade of Collaboration 1972—82, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
House of Fire, Castelli-Feigen-Corcoran Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Exhibits Four New Clear Women (1982), 17’ x 24’, for the Four Seasons Restaurant, New York, NY
Exhibits Star Thief at Centre for the Fine Arts, Miami, FL
Exhibits Star Thief in one-man exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
James Rosenquist, Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris, France (solo)
Nine Large Drawings, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (solo)
Rosenquist: Drawings, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY (solo)

Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice, France
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Tate Gallery, London, UK
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY