ED RUSCHA (B. 1937)
ED RUSCHA (B. 1937)
ED RUSCHA (B. 1937)
1 更多
ED RUSCHA (B. 1937)
4 更多
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… 显示更多 Depth of Field: The Alan and Dorothy Press Collection
ED RUSCHA (B. 1937)


ED RUSCHA (B. 1937)
signed and dated ‘E. Ruscha 1966’ (lower left)
graphite on paper
image: 7 3/4 x 6 in. (19.7 x 15.2 cm.)
sheet: 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (24.1 x 19.1 cm.)
Drawn in 1966.
Ulrike Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles
Private collection
James Corcoran Gallery, Santa Monica
Acquired from the above by the late owner, 1991
L. Turvey, ed., Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper, Volume One: 1956-1976, New Haven, 2014, p. 169, no. D1966.09 (illustrated).
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.


Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, New York


“Words have temperatures to me. When they reach a certain point and become hot words, then they appeal to me…” - Ed Ruscha

Infused with a powerful sense of mystery and intrigue, Ed Ruscha’s Business is an intimate yet radical work of 1966. This important and early drawing testifies to the artist’s investigations into different mediums, in this case graphite on paper, in which the single word “Business” is rendered in a florid, cursive script. That same year, Ruscha created a suite of twenty-five such drawings in which a different word was spelled out in looping cursive letters and placed against a softly-modulated background. Words like “Pussy” and “Punk” appeared alongside “Cherish” and “Stardust,” where the words appear to have materialized out of thin air. The hazy, film noir quality of this series relates to Ruscha’s inventive use of graphite, by smearing the material to create a shadowy effect. In many ways, this series prefigures the gunpowder drawings that he would begin the following year, in 1967. “Business” was an important word in the artist’s oeuvre, as he depicted it at least four times between 1964 and 1970. Intimate in scale and yet expansive in feeling, Business is a beautiful, beguiling work that references the artist’s own identity, as he embarked upon a career in the “business” of art-making, which has now taken him into its seventh decade.

In the simple, direct act of putting pencil to paper, Ruscha elicits an entirely new realm of possibilities in Business. In the present work, he uses the graphite in pencil form to delineate the letters of the word, delighting in the looping curves of the capital letter “B” and in the smaller, double-loops of the cursive letter “s”—of which there are not one, but three—and then joining them together into the single word “Business.” He then uses the graphite in its granular form, to softly smear the powder from the letters to create a dark, shadowy background. Ruscha called this a “drag shadow.” The technique is both historical—in the chiaroscuro effects of Leonardo da Vinci’s representational drawings, with their three-dimensionality and naturalistic effects—but also radically new, finding common ground in the pioneering developments happening in California in the 1960s. Other artists engaged in a similar pursuit include Vija Celmins, who used graphite to create her drawings of the ocean, and also Agnes Martin and Eva Hesse. In this way, Ruscha’s innovative use of graphite helped to chart a new path for the genre of graphite on paper.

Ruscha was fairly obsessed with the word “business” in the mid-to-late 1960s, making at least four drawings between 1964 and 1970, and each employing a different font. At this time, he seemed to create artwork that reflexively pointed back to his identity as an artist and the very act of artmaking itself. As Lisa Turvey has written in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, “Works from this time point explicitly, and often reflecting, to the means and methods of drawing” (L. Turvey, “Whistling at the Symphony,” in Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Works on Paper, Volume One: 1956–1976, New Haven, 2014, p. 19). Indeed, in his series of naturalistic paintings of the mid-1960s that feature birds and fish, Ruscha often placed a pencil in various forms—broken in half or wriggling like a worm—in these mysterious paintings. He was clearly thinking about the tools of the artist’s trade and the “business” with which the artist made his living. Similarly, in his works on paper of the mid-1960s, Ruscha undertook similar experiments, playing with illusionism and trompe l'oeil, and “exploring how paper could be the source and ground of a world of illusionistic effects” (L. Turvey, Ibid., p. 22).

“Ruscha saw in the portrayal of words a certain freedom,” Lisa Truvey has again explained, “as things with no prescribed size, they can be any size” (L. Turvey, Ibid., p. 19) Indeed, in Business, Ruscha creates a depiction that’s larger than actual size (as it would appear in a diary or hand-written note), and instead creates a vision of the word as it appears in the mind’s eye. His depiction presents us with the idea of the word, which is aided by the hazy, black-and-white realm where the word lives. By placing it along a diagonal axis, he tilts the word out of the ordinary realm and enters it into a dream-world. It exists in an unknowable, anonymous realm, much like the surrealist landscapes of Giorgio de Chirico. In this way, Business exists in many states at once: it is, in fact, a “hand-written” note, but also a drawing of a hand-written note; so, too, is it a dreamlike vision, portraying the word as it exists in the mind’s eye, where it has no size or shape at all.

“For Ruscha, the word is a package that will not stay wrapped, a sign always on the verge of exploding (boiling apart) or sublimating…transcending its body…[its] existence is not stable at all.” - (H. Cooper, “Word Man in No-Man’s Land,” in op. cit., p. 39).

“Words have temperatures to me,” Ruscha once said. “When they reach a certain point and become hot words, then they appeal to me...Sometimes I have a dream that if a word gets too hot and too appealing, it will boil apart, and I won’t be able to read or think of it. Usually I catch them before they get too hot” (E. Ruscha, quoted in Ed Ruscha Fifty Years of Painting, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 2009, pp. 46-7). Indeed, in Business, Ruscha manages to catch the word before it boils apart, and has instead rendered it timeless, where it will live forever in the liminal world that he creates. This is all the more fascinating considering the traditional methods he used, as artists have employed graphite since the 16th Century. Somehow, Ruscha has managed to create a world that is both utterly timeless and yet resolutely new. “For Ruscha, the word is a package that will not stay wrapped, a sign always on the verge of exploding (boiling apart) or sublimating…transcending its body…[its] existence is not stable at all” (H. Cooper, “Word Man in No-Man’s Land,” in op. cit., p. 39).

更多来自 二十世纪艺术晚间拍卖