Artwork by Edward Ruscha,  Mocha Standard

Ed Ruscha
Mocha Standard

colour screenprint
signed, dated 1969 and numbered 15/100 in the margin
19.5 x 37 ins ( 49.5 x 94 cms )

Auction Estimate: $35,000.00$25,000.00 - $35,000.00

Price Realized $21,850.00
Sale date: September 17th 2014

The Collection of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.
After “Mocha Standard” first appeared in Ruscha's artist book “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” in 1964, “Mocha Standard” transformed into a masterpiece of American painting. Part of a series featuring John D. Rockefeller's ubiquitous Standard Oil stations, “Mocha Standard” depicts Standard Station of Amarillo, Texas, and is now arguably Ruscha's most iconic image.

The barren gas station and the appearance of flatness heighten Ruscha's demonstrated interest in the banal and the mundane. The radical foreshortening and sharp diagonal line of the roof dramatize an otherwise vernacular site, unapologetically referential to the Pop Art movement Ruscha helped to popularize. “Mocha Standard” demonstrates a lifelong aesthetic and thematic approach borne of his early career as a graphic artist. Many other famous pop artists, such as Andy Warhol, also began their artistic careers in the graphic arts.

As evidenced in this work, Ruscha plays with motifs of language and landscape to communicate a particular urban experience. Utilizing photography, drawing, painting, and film, Ruscha's work transcends the banality of urban life to reveal the constant mass media-driven imagery and information that invade our daily lives.

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Edward Ruscha

Ed Ruscha was born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska, moved to Oklahoma City in 1941, and to Los Angeles in 1956 to complete his education at the Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of Arts). As early as 1963, he began showing his work at the progressive Ferus Gallery in Law and had his first international show in Cologne, Germany at Galerie Rudolf Zwirner. A few years later, Ruscha began showing his work with the legendary Leo Castelli in New York, as did Richard Serra, Cy Tombly, Roy Lichtenstein, and other world renowned American artists from this period. Subsequently, Ruscha exhibited with the Gagosian Gallery in New York and Beverly Hills.

In 1998, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles organized a retrospective of Ruscha's works on paper. A major retrospective of Ruscha's career opened at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. in June 2000 and travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Miami Art Museum, and the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, Texas. In 2001, Ruscha was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters as a member of the Department of Art. Ruscha was the United States representative at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005.