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James Rosenquist
Fire Fountain
lithograph on paper
Sheet: 35 3/4 × 32 1/4 inches (90.8 × 81.9 cm)
Credit Line
Kirk Varnedoe Collection, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, Gift of the Artist.
Accession Number
James Rosenquist was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and studied art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (1948), the University of Minnesota (1952-54), and the Art Students League of New York (1955). After leaving the League, he found work as a commercial artist, painting billboards and signs around Manhattan. The commercial imagery in which Rosenquist was immersed during these early years certainly came to bear on his mature work as a preeminent artist of the Pop Art movement. By 1960, he had opted out of sign painting and rented a small studio; his first solo exhibition was held in 1962 at the Green Gallery in New York. Rosenquist became known for juxtaposing unusual and disparate commercial images, often employing unexpected materials and creating on an exceptionally large scale. His F-111 of 1964-65 measured 86 feet long and was specifically designed to wrap around the room in which it was exhibited.

Fire Mountain, in the Varnedoe Collection, is a fine example of Rosenquist’s work in lithography, a media he has been using since 1964. Rosenquist selected this particular piece for the Varnedoe Collection because the fire and vigor in its composition reminded him of the indefatigable energy with which Kirk Varnedoe championed the arts.