Twentysix Gasoline Stations

Ed Ruscha

Twentysix Gasoline Stations is credited as being the defining artist's book of the modern era, and was the first artist's book by Ed Ruscha. 

Published in April 1963 on Ruscha's own imprint National Excelsior Press, the work has become famous as a major influence on artist's book culture, especially in America. The book reproduces 26 photographs of gasoline stations next to captions indicating their brand and location. From the first service station, 'Bob's Service' in Los Angeles, where Ruscha lived, the book follows a journey back to Oklahoma City where the artist had grown up, and where his mother still lived. The last image is of a Fina Gasoline Station in Groom, Texas, which Ruscha has suggested should be seen as the beginning of the return journey, 'like a coda'.

Originally printed in a numbered edition of 400, a second edition of 500 was published in 1967 and a third of 3000 in 1969. Neither of these later editions was numbered. It has been suggested that these reprints were a deliberate attempt to flood the market in order to maintain the book's status as a cheap, mass-produced commodity. The book had originally sold for $3.50.

The image of Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas, from within the book, was the source for Ruscha's iconic Standard Station paintings and prints. Ruscha transformed the image with a radical foreshortening which centres the composition around a plunging diagonal line.

The Wikipedia entry for Artist's Book illustrates Twentysix Gasoline Stations as the visual reference for the term.

Artist
Ed Ruscha (b.1937)
Title
Twentysix Gasoline Stations
Medium
Artist's Book
Date
1963
Edition
From the numbered First edition of 400, as issued
Publisher
National Excelsior-published book by the artist
Literature
Engberg B1
Notes
SIGNED COPY (signed, ‘Ed Ruscha’ in ink on the dedication page). Most handsome, near fine condition with original glassine. Second image shown modern archival glassine (the original glassine has been retained).
Reference
C15-53
Status
Available for sale: Please enquire for price