Richard Prince was born August 6, 1949, in the Panama Canal Zone (now Panama). An American painter and photographer. Prince began appropriating photographs in 1975. His image, Untitled (Cowboy), a "rephotograph" of a photograph taken originally by Sam Abell and appropriated from a cigarette advertisement, was the first "rephotograph" to raise more than $1 million at auction when it was sold at Christie's New York in 2005.
Starting in 1977, Prince photographed four photographs, which previously appeared in the New York Times. This process of re-photographing continued into 1983, when his work Spiritual America featured Garry Gross's photo of Brooke Shields at the age of ten, standing in a bathtub, as an allusion to precocious sexuality and to the Alfred Stieglitz photograph by the same name. His Jokes series (beginning 1986) concerns the sexual fantasies and sexual frustrations of middle-class America, using stand-up comedy and burlesque humor.
Prince was first interested in the art of the American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. "I was very attracted to the idea of someone who was by themselves, fairly antisocial, kind of a loner, someone who was noncollaborative." Prince grew up during the height of Pollock's career, making his work accessible. The 1956 Time magazine article dubbing Pollock "Jack the Dripper" made the thought of pursuing art as career possible. After finishing high school in 1967, Prince set off for Europe at age 18.
Prince returned home and attended Nasson College in Maine. He describes his school as without grades or real structure. From Maine he was drawn to New York City. Prince has said that his attraction to New York was instigated by the famous photograph of Franz Kline gazing out the window of his 14th Street studio. Prince described the picture as "a man content to be alone, pursuing the outside world from the sanctum of his studio."