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Richard Prince (1949), Untitled (Cowboy), 1999

Richard Prince’s work on existing images has made him one of the most significant of the 1980’s appropriation artists. Today, Prince is perhaps best known for his cowboy images. The pictures are taken from advertisements for the well-known cigarette brand Marlboro. The Marlboro advertisements were using the myth of the Wild West and the Cowboy, to evoke the ideals of masculinity, freedom and individualism. Prince has rephotographed the cigarette ads without including the promotional text, and some of the images are smaller sections and details from larger landscaped ads. Several of the images are intentionally enlarged to get a grainy character. In doing so, Prince abolishes the mythology associated with the cowboy and the action in the image, creating a new encounter with these familiar motifs. In this way, he facilitates a discussion about how we perceive and relate to truth and reality.
Untitled (Cowboy) ​from 1999, is one of the most magnificent and masculine charged images from Prince’s cowboy series.