Ed Ruscha's 99% Angel leads contemporary art sale

Ed Ruscha's 99% Angel, 1% Devil realised $341,000 at Heritage Auctions' contemporary art sale in Dallas on May 30.

The lot dates to 1983 and is one of a series of word paintings that Ruscha began working on during the 1960s.

Ed Ruscha Heritage
Ed Ruscha is an influential pop artist

His interest in using text in his painting was in part inspired by his early immersion in advertising and commercial art.

On being asked about the words he uses, which often seem arbitrary, he once said: "Well, they just occur to me; sometimes people say them and I write down and then I paint them. Sometimes I use a dictionary."

The record for a work by Ruscha was set at Christie's last year, when his Smash (1963) sold for $30.4m.

Marc Chagall's Saint Germain des Pres also sold well, achieving $275,000.

Heritage explained in the run-up to the sale: "Marc Chagall was a unique artist who created art according to his heritage and experiences rather than based on the principles of the many modern art movements of his time…

"He grew up in a world of mysticism, and Jewish lore and culture, which forever influenced the dreamlike quality of his paintings."

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