John Cage  (American, 1912-1992) 

whitespace
John Cage (American, 1912-1992) was a composer, visual artist, writer, and philosopher. Born in Los Angeles, CA, Cage is best known for his Minimalist musical compositions, often characterized by his use of chance and mathematical formulas, as well as the incorporation of non-musical objects and periods of silence. In the early 1930s, Cage studied with Arnold Schoenberg, the Austrian-born composer who invented and employed a 12-tone composition technique. The pair worked together at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. Schoenberg was a significant influence on and inspiration for John Cage’s own musical works. In the late 1930s, while at UCLA, Cage began producing musical accompaniments for dance and choreography. After moving to Seattle in 1938 to be an accompanist at the Cornish College of the Arts, Cage met dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham, who became his lifelong friend and collaborator.

Cage was associated with and connected to a wide variety of other well-known artists and luminaries, including Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008), Jackson Pollock (American, 1912-1956), R. Buckminster Fuller (American, 1895–1983), and Marcel Duchamp (French, 1887-1968). The composition 4’33”, considered Cage’s best-known work, was cause for controversy and criticism among colleagues and audiences. The score, written in 1952 and first performed that year by David Tudor in Woodstock, New York, instructs the performer not to play the instrument for the entirety of the piece—four minutes and 33 seconds. While 4’33” is often thought of as consisting only of silence, it is meant to be comprised of the environmental sounds heard by listeners during the performance. Beginning in 1969, Cage turned to various other media of artistic expression, such as painting, etching, print-making, photography, and writing.

His better-known visual works include Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel (1969), incorporating lithographs and Plexiglas panels with silkscreen printings; a series of abstract prints titled Changes and Disappearances (1979-1982); and a watercolor series titled River Rocks and Smoke (1990). Cage’s work was regularly exhibited at the Margarete Roeder Gallery in New York. The most recent retrospective was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 1993. In addition to his visual works, Cage wrote multiple books, including Silence: Lectures and Writings (1961), M (1973), and Empty Words (1979). He was the recipient of the New York Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts and Culture in 1981, and was awarded the Commandeur de l''Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the French Government’s highest honor for contributions to cultural life, in 1982.

Find John Cage artworks for sale worldwide, artworks that sold at auction, a detailed biography, and more information on the artist below.
envelope Get email alerts about this artist!  
Artworks for sale (10)
In Art Galleries (9)
Dealers selling (3)
In Upcoming Auctions (1)

Sold Artworks
In Past Auctions (127)

Calendar
Exhibitions (1)
Auctions (1)

artnet Magazine
Articles (74)

More Information
Biography
Monographs
artnet Analytics Reports
Market Reports
* paid service

Artworks for sale (10)

View All   

John Cage, Not wanting to say anything about Marcel (Mit Calvin Sumsion)

 

John Cage
Not wanting to say anything about Marcel (Mit Calvin Sumsion)
1969

Auction: May 3, 2014
Dr. Andreas Sturies
View Details | entire auction
John Cage, Fontana Mix (Dark Grey)

 

John Cage
Fontana Mix (Dark Grey)
1981

Carl Solway Gallery
John Cage, Fontana Mix (Orange/Tan)

 

John Cage
Fontana Mix (Orange/Tan)
1981

Carl Solway Gallery
John Cage, Fontana Mix (Light Grey)

 

John Cage
Fontana Mix (Light Grey)
1981

Carl Solway Gallery
John Cage, 17 Drawings by Thoreau

 

John Cage
17 Drawings by Thoreau
1978

Carl Solway Gallery
John Cage, Not Wanting To Say Anything About Marcel, II

 

John Cage
Not Wanting To Say Anything About Marcel, II
1969

Carl Solway Gallery
John Cage, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel (Detail)

 

John Cage
Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel (Detail)
1969

Sragow Gallery
John Cage, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel

 

John Cage
Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel
1969

Sragow Gallery
John Cage, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Lithograph A

 

John Cage
Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Lithograph A
1969

Carl Solway Gallery
Past auction results (127)  View All
John Cage, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel I.

 

John Cage
Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel I., 1969
multiple. 8 Plexiglas plates, toned and printed

 

View Details
John Cage, Déka 27

 

John Cage
Déka 27, 1987
aquatint and monotype

 

View Details
John Cage, Déka 28

 

John Cage
Déka 28, 1987
aquatint and monotype

 

View Details

1912   Born September 5th in Los Angeles, California
1937   Moved to Seattle to work as a dance accompanist
1938   Founded a percussion orchestra in Seattle
1941 - 1942   Taught at the Chicago School of Design
1945   Developed an interest in Eastern philosophy that greatly influenced his work
1949   Awarded by the National Academy of Arts and Letters for the invention of the prepared piano
1954   Moved to Stony Point, New York where he developed an interest in mushrooms
1962   Taught about mushrooms at the New York School for Social Research. This same year he founded the New York Mycological Society
1978   Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1981   Received the New York Mayor’s Honor Award of Arts and Sciences
1982   Awarded Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government
1989   Traveled to Japan to be awarded the Kyoto Prize
1992   Died August 12th
2009   March 13, "John Cage: String Quartet in Four Parts and works by Feldman, Crawford, Ives, Nancarrow and Varèse",Theater Kikker, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2009   Feb. 5, "John Cage: Organ2 / ASLSP", Center for the Arts, Harold J. Kaplan Concert Hall, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA
2008   "The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now", San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco