James Rosenquist, pioneer of pop art movement, dead at 83

James Rosenquist poses in front of his painting "Elect President" at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum in 2004 (RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

James Rosenquist, a leading pioneer of the pop art movement, died on Friday.
He was 83.
Rosenquist started out in New York City as a sign painter by trade and would work on abstract pieces at night — he translated the in-your-face style of giant advertising art into the world of fine art.
His graphic style of work was also popular with his art world contemporaries, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, during the pop art heyday in the 1960s.

Rosenquist particularly placed his focus on billboard painting — some of his creations were even plastered above Times Square, while others could be found out in Brooklyn in the form of a Hebrew National sign, according to the New York Times.
He had retrospectives in major museums throughout the course of his career, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in 1968, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1972, the Denver Art Museum in 1985 and the Guggenheim in 2003.
His large-scale painting and room installation "F-111" (1964-65) was later purchased by collector Robert Scull and is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

The artist died at his home after a long illness, his wife Mimi Thompson confirmed to the New York Times.
“He was a poet but his language was paint,” Rosenquist’s friend, art collector Marvin Ross Friedman, told the Miami Herald. “He made pictures of life that passed through the prism of his mind.”