His signature palette of white, red, blue, and gold—a result of a particularly vivid dream—inspired his series of Great American Nudes, premiering at Tanager Gallery in Wesselmann often testified that he found sex to be an integral part of his life, and we can view the total confidence of the figure in this metaphorical light. In the present lot, one of his final Studies for the American Nude, Wesselmann tests us with two kinds of resolve: both his and that of his model. As a former cartoonist and leading figure of the Pop Art movement, Tom Wesselmann spent many years of his life repurposing popular imagery to produce small to large-scale works that burst with color. Wesselmann considered pop culture objects as exclusively visual elements and incorporated them in his works as pure containers of bold color. This color palette became the foundation for his now-iconic suggestive figurative canvases, often depicting reclining nudes or women's lips balancing a cigarette. Signed and dated "Tom Wesselmann 66" lower right.
S ex is the thing that made the late Tom Wesselmann great, sometimes hated, and an oddity among his pop art peers. Unlike Warhol, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg and co, the painter chose the nude as his enduring subject, charging his work with a sexuality as earnest and joyful as it is overt. He intended no critique of consumerism, just a celebration of colour and shape. Wesselmann died in , but his studio is still full of his life force. It is funny! Wesselmann was already a major name when a friend introduced her at one of his openings Soon after he asked if she might consider sitting for him. Claire recalls having to carefully empty his jeans pockets of these precious scraps before she did laundry. Serra has a vivid memory of seeing them for the first time. Well, who is this artist? Those large-scale, flat and frictionless renderings of red-nippled nudes bothered plenty of people.
Contemporary Art Day
Wesselmann, who disliked the term Pop, chafed at being the only major artist of the Pop generation not honored with a museum retrospective in his lifetime. The exhibition will show how he collaged billboard imagery and functional objects like neon lights, radios and fans into his paintings, and adapted laser technology to make three-dimensional steel-cut compositions beginning in the mids. Fredric Brandt was the celebrity dermatologist whose clients included Madonna, supermodels, trophy wives and business titans. Brandt died in April at age 65 , from suicide, leaving a hoard of contemporary art by painters he had discovered before their values took off, according to Paul McCabe, an art adviser in London and New York who worked with him for 15 years helping him construct his collection.
Wesselmann's earliest and best-known series positions a time-honored theme in juxtaposition with contemporary signs of consumer culture and politics. After a dream concerning the phrase "red, white, and blue", he decided to paint nudes in this patriotic palette, incorporating gold and khaki colors with military overtones. This resulted in the series now known as the "Great American Nudes. On the wall behind her is a portrait of the recently elected President John F. Kennedy a magazine clipping. Wesselmann's then-girlfriend, later-wife Claire Selley modeled for this painting. The vibrant color and stylized pose evoke Matisse, and the single facial feature, a toothy grin, is a direct reference to de Kooning, who famously pasted the mouths from cigarette ads onto his canvases of the s. Her devil-may-care expression, juxtaposed with Kennedy's formal attire and earnest gaze, suggests that both are equally contrived. Cleverly arranged pairings between the private space of the bedroom and public sphere of contemporary politics are a hallmark of Wesselmann's oeuvre. Though Wesselmann rejected the label of Pop art, this piece is an iconic work of the s that fits squarely within the movement.