48" x 48" Oil On Board
Drawing upon old advertisements for Rheingold beer, Rheingold features the recognisable typography and ‘extra dry’ catch-phrase. Founded by the German American Liebmann family, Rheingold beer was introduced to the market in 1883 and from 1950 to 1960 was one of the most popular beers in New York state. At its peak, the beer was one of the most beloved, with the New York Times explaining that “Rheingold Beer was once a top New York brew guzzled regularly by a loyal cadre of workingmen who would just as soon have eaten nails as drink another beer maker's suds." The founding family sold the company in 1963 and operations were shut down in 1976 when Rheingold was unable to compete with larger national breweries; however, the label was reintroduced in 1998. Noted for being one of the first light beers on the market, the brand was also celebrated for their creative advertisement campaigns, including the “Miss Rheingold” pageant, in which beer drinks voted each year on which girl they wanted to be the face of the brand. As in many of his other works, Ryan focuses on a thematic aspect of classic Americana from the 1950s and 1960s, in this case a brand which was noted in popular culture and was even the regional sponsor for Nat King Cole’s television show and the official beer of the New York Mets. Featured centrally on the picture-plane and with bold block letters, Ryan calls attention to the brand almost as if it were a sign or an advertisement. With a sparse color palette and little inclusion of symbolism, in the case of three stars all the focus is on the label. This method of drawing upon signage and typography has a long history in post-war art practice, particularly in the works of James Rosenquist and Robert Indiana.