TOM WESSELMANN (1931-2004)

Still Life with Blonde and Goldfish
Mixografia® print on handmade paper
Edition of 75, 31/75
42 x 37 inches

American artist Tom Wesselmann was a significant contributor to the Pop Art movement of the sixties. Wesselmann was born in Cincinnati and studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and later at Cooper Union in New York City in the late 1950s. During his student days, his work was greatly influenced by the Abstract Expressionists, William de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Eventually rejecting the introspective pursuits of the Abstract Expressionists because of the limitations it placed on others in their own creative exploration, Wesselmann pursued the very opposite extreme. He began to use a very tightly controlled style of realism adopting subject matter that represented the mundane everyday object as domestic icons, elevating it to a significant status. Like other Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist, Wesselmann believed that mundane everyday objects, especially specific commercial images from brand names that had become household words to comic books were worthy subjects to render because of a common understanding about what they were. Tom Wesselmann’s most recognizable work was done in the 1960s and is based primarily on the female nude as a sex object and collages of food themes rendered in huge proportions. He uses airbrushes, sprays, photographs, slides, and many other devices to produce his characteristic slick, commercial style. He has been an innovator in many art forms during his career including his “drop outs” where negative shapes become cutouts of laser cut metal to create three-dimensional drawings.  Wesselmann is an exceptional print maker creating large spectacular silk-screens and lithographs.