Strawberry Sunglasses, 1974, is intriguing because it shows a new development in Rosenquist’s art. At the same time, its imagery derives from previous works of the artist and has meaning in the context of his life. Visually, Strawberry Sunglasses is compelling. The large-sized horizontal print presents a triptych-like composition containing geometric shapes. A monochromatic white background projects three images that visually seem to break out of the picture plane. The vertical line that divides the print in half presents another challenge to the viewer as he/she tries to interpret the three-image composition. Starting at the left of Strawberry Sunglasses, one is initially amused by a spectrum of vibrant colors that are printed horizontally in the image of tire treads. The colors rise from the bottom edge of the work to the top, creating a vertically colored spectrum. This is a reminder of Rosenquist’s friend Ellsworth Kelly, who also shared an interest in painting spectrums of colors. Loking closely, one can identify an outline of a square in the middle of the column of colors. Each edge of the square is a different color. As one’s eye moves to the center of the composition, what appears to be a photograph of a left lens from a pair of sunglasses is recognizable. Inside the lens, a triangle with a hanger hook, or a dinner triangle, is outlined in white to create the effect of emergence from the lens. The string that the hanger hook holds further supports this notion. In the third image on the right, which the inner part of the left lens signals, a circular shape is represented. It suggests concentric circles because a circular cut crumpled paper is surrounded by a red circular tire print. The stylistic approach, technique, and the replication of objects in Strawberry Sunglasses reveal the interests of James Rosenquist.The title of the work itself invites participation based on the the viewer’s prior knowledge of and identification with strawberries and/or sunglasses. The viewer is to interpret this lithograph print in his/her own way. However, the artist shares his interpretation of Strawberry Sunglasses. Rosenquist presents his life, his troubles, and his evolution in art within the print. This large work of art with vibrant colors is unique compared to the work of other contemporary artists. Strawberry Sunglasses derives from the history of Rosenquist’s exploration of form in art, his significant life events, and his collaboration with artist friends.
(excerpt from an analysis by Melissa D’Amico)
This work of art is numbered, 8 from the small edition of only 79 impressions. A certificate of authenticity accompanies this work of art.