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Artist Edward Ruscha photo books offer views of Los Angeles, Dutch cityscape
Pages from Edward Ruscha’s 1971 photo book “Dutch Details.” Myers Fine Art image.


ST. PETERSBURG, FLA.- Between 1962 and 1978, Los Angeles-based artist Edward Ruscha produced 16 artist's books, two of which – Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) and Dutch Details (1971) – will be sold at auction on Sunday, March 13.

Both of these books are unique photographic collections of two very different landscapes. Every Building on the Sunset Strip is self-explanatory, as it captures a stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, while Dutch Details features the architecture, canals and parks of Groningen, Netherlands.

Dutch Details, published in 1971 for the Sonsbeek exhibition “Sonsbeek Out of Bounds,” is a photo series that captures the austere nature of a Dutch cityscape. This oblong book with foldout pages contains a beautiful series of photographs that transplants the viewer directly into Dutch city life.

Three thousand copies of Dutch Details were printed, of which approximately 200 are said to have survived after most were mistakenly destroyed while being stored in a warehouse. Considered rare, the copy of Dutch Details in the auction is valued at $6,000-$8,000.

Each photo in Dutch Details is in square-format, not unlike today’s modern Instagram photos. The cozy urban aesthetic achieved in the photo series is inspirational for current photographers, but Ruscha is not one to take note of how influential or innovative his work is. In fact, what makes Ruscha’s photos so remarkable is just how effortless they appear, despite the large amount of time and creativity invested in them.

The other Ruscha book, Every Building on the Sunset Strip, published 1966, is a photo collage that does indeed feature every building on the famous street in Los Angeles. The accordion-folded strip of paper extends to over 27 feet and captures both the glitz and grit of Sunset Boulevard in the 1960s. After he recorded the entirety of the strip on a Nikon camera affixed to the bed of his truck, Ruscha painstakingly edited the photos into a continuous collage, which was then printed into this remarkable book.

In his interview with Calvin Tomkins of The New Yorker, Ruscha says of Sunset Strip, “My intention was not to have a goal in mind, but just to record a street in a very faithful way. Sometimes there are no storefronts and it’s just land, and I photograph that, too.” Ruscha’s dedication to capturing the strip authentically results in a documentary-style, realist approach.

Sunset Strip now serves as a perfect time capsule of a long-gone era in one of America’s most famous cities. As an artist, Ruscha is known for embodying the style and attitude of Hollywood and Los Angeles, and this unique book is a major part of his contribution to documenting the city. Every Building on the Sunset Strip is estimated at $1,000-$2,000.

Myers Fine Art will offer the Edward Ruscha books, Dutch Details and Every Building on the Sunset Strip, in their Sunday, March 13 auction.

Images and detailed descriptions of the books are included in the Myers catalog, which can be viewed online. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.





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