Coffee Time – James Rosenquist & Illy Collaboration

Coffee’s more ‘pop’ than ever – thanks to this limited edition series of 250g tins designed by artist James Rosenquist, one of the original fathers of American Pop Art, for illy. Rosenquist designed the illy logo ten years ago. Now, fans of the artist can bring their own copy of the artist’s specially commissioned work, Coffee Flavors Ideas into their home (the original is 2 x 1.4m).


The work uses the principle of overlapping images from various timeframes and, in this case, in a single place. Rosenquist proposes a sort of instant narrative, fixing the complex evocation of a long-lasting event in a single image: that of the process leading from the white petals of the flower to the birth of the fruit from which coffee beans are made. The underlying idea of the work is the conviction that coffee has the ability to make one smile, thanks to its helping to generate ideas and thoughts and, as Rosenquist declares, “…it also suggests the flavour coffee has”.

The work has been created by James Rosenquist specially for the Galleria illy in New York, a space opened for three months last autumn in the heart of SoHo, in which the Trieste-based company recreated the essence of its philosophy and world, with a blend of art, culture and coffee.

James Rosenquist, born in North Dakota in 1933 into a family of Scandinavian origin, is one of the founding fathers of Pop Art. He produced his first work in Minneapolis: this was a two-metre high advertising hoard showing two children drinking Coca-Cola. At the end of the 1950s, he was in New York and came into contact with Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and other artists. His first studio work, Zone, dates from 1960. The following decade was spent as a master of Pop Art. Since then, he has exhibited throughout the world and is considered one of the greatest living artists

The initiative coincides with the tenth anniversary of the illy logo, also created by Rosenquist and initially presented in the original form of a futuristic painting using the aesthetic of a collage; the entire image was then reproduced in an earlier limited edition of the tin. Rosenquist’s collaboration with the company has been steadfast – in 1996 he designed a limited edition espresso cup set called “The Italian Riviera Cups”, a collector’s treasure.

James Rosenquist’s site


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