Tom Wesselmann

United States of America, 1931

In the 1960s, Tom Wesselmann boldly ignored the ideas of abstract expressionism and became one of the leading figures in pop art through his still-lifes, landscapes, and representational nudes. He is best known for his flat style and an intense palette of red, white, and blue paintings of female nudes. Wesselmann’s work is different from other pop artists of that era because his use of advertising media and everyday objects created a unique aesthetic of them, instead of mocking their commercial intentions.

Wesselmann’s first solo show was at the Tanager Gallery in New York in 1961, consisting of large-scale, flat collage work. By the early 1980s, he had adopted a method of shaping canvases and cut metal to create abstract, three-dimensional pieces. Later, Wesselmann revisited an exploration of the female form and reintroduced abstract works with bold linework and bright primary colors. Wesselmann was influenced by Mondrian and Matisse and acknowledged these connections by titling his works after their early paintings or echoing their abstractions, moods, compositions and forms.

Wesselmann’s work remains highly sought after by many collectors. A retrospective of his body of work debuted at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Rome in 2005, as well as numerous exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and The Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts.

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