LAMA BLOG

Just In: Ed Ruscha Vowel E from “Ed Ruscha: Vowels – Paintings on Book Covers”

July 1, 2013

In 1996, Ed Ruscha took his text-based works one step further and made his canvas a book cover. The series titled “Ed Ruscha: Vowels – Paintings on Book Covers” included one hundred unique works, each on a book cover, each illustrating a different vowel. The books that Ruscha utilized in this series were anything from notebooks and his own published books, to other artist’s books and Sotheby’s catalogues.

The upcoming October 13, 2013 Modern Art & Design Auction will feature Vowel E, which showcases a hand-painted lowercase “e” on the cover of the book Hard Light by Ed Ruscha and Lawrence Weiner published in 1978. The lowercase “e” carefully intersects the subject’s face so that the “eye” (a typographical term to define the enclosed part of the lowercase letter e) encompasses the physical ear of the subject. This subtle play on “body parts” of both the human form and typographic form, in addition to the perfect layering of composition, typography, paint, and print, truly epitomizes Ruscha’s masterful technique of incorporating text into his works.

These works were originally sold in 1996 through Gagosian Gallery to benefit the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS and AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). The Estate Project for Artists with AIDS is the first national organization to assist artists with HIV and AIDS in presenting, continuing and preserving their work, and AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) is well known as the leading AIDS service provider in Los Angeles.

For more information on how to bid on this work, please email a LAMA Representative.

LAMA is currently accepting consignments of Modern Art & Design to be considered for the October 13, 2013 Auction. Please email Shannon Loughrey with images and/or descriptions of the items you wish to consign.

Lot Information:

Ed Ruscha
Vowel E
1996
Oil on Hard Light book cover
Book: 7″ x 5″; Frame: 10.5″ x 8.325″
This work was created by the artist for a benefit exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles with proceeds going to the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS and AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Provenance: Private Collection, Los Angeles (acquired from Gagosian Gallery, 1996)
Exhibited: “Ed Ruscha: Vowels – Paintings on Book Covers,” Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles, September 11-28, 1996
Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000

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