The Estate of Tom Wesselmann

  • Courtesy the Estate of Tom Wesselmann - Licensed by VAGA, New York and Almine Rech.
    , Sunset Nude With Matisse Odalisque, 2003
    Oil on canvas, 304,8 x 254 cm - 120 x 100 in.
    Sunset Nude With Matisse Odalisque, 2003. Oil on canvas, 304,8 x 254 cm - 120 x 100 in. - Courtesy the Estate of Tom Wesselmann - Licensed by VAGA, New York and Almine Rech.
  • , Girl Eating a Banana, 1967-68
    Oil on canvas
    130,8 x 190,5 cm
    51 1/2 x 75 inches
  • , Bedroom Painting #24, 1970
    Oil on shaped canvas
    190,5 x 236,9 x 63,5 cm
    75 x 93 1/4 x 25 inches
  • , Bedroom Painting #30, 1974
    Oil on canvas
    204,5 x 422,9 cm
    80 1/2 x 166 1/2 inches
  • , Bedroom Painting #35, 1967-75
    Oil on canvas
    213,4 x 167,6 cm
    84 x 66 inches
  • , Gina's Hand, 1972-82
    Oil on canvas
    149,9 x 208,3 cm
    59 x 82 inches
  • , Bedroom Painting #67, 1983
    Oil on canvas
    239,4 x 152,4 cm
    94 1/4 x 60 inches
  • , Bedroom Blonde with T.V., 1984-93
    Oil on canvas on board with working TV
    106,1 x 152,4 x 55,9 cm
    41 3/4 x 60 x 22 inches
  • , Smoker #3, 1968
    Oil on canvas
    181,6 x 170,2 cm
    71 1/2 x 67 inches
  • , Seascape #27, 1967-69
    Oil on canvas
    141 x 139,7 cm
    55 1/2 x 55 inches
  • , Sunset Nude, Floral Blanket, 2003
    Oil on canvas
    231 x 304,8 cm (framed)
    91 x 120 inches (framed)

Tom Wesselmann was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 23, 1931. He attended Hiram College in Ohio from 1949 to 1951 before entering the University of Cincinnati. In 1953, his studies were interrupted by a two-year enlistment in the army, during which time he began drawing cartoons. He returned to the university in 1954 and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1956. During this time, he decided to pursue a career in cartooning and so enrolled at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. After graduation he moved to New York City, where he was accepted into the Cooper Union and where his focus shifted dramatically to fine art. He received his diploma in 1959.

Wesselmann became one of the leading American Pop artists of the 1960s, rejecting abstract expressionism in favor of the classical representations of the nude, still life, and landscape. He created collages and assemblages incorporating everyday objects and advertising ephemera in an effort to make images as powerful as the abstract expressionism he admired. He is perhaps best known for his great ‘American Nude’ series with their sensuous forms and intense colors. In the 1970s, Wesselmann continued to explore the ideas and media which had preoccupied him during the 1960s. Most significantly, his large ‘Standing Still Life’ series, composed of free standing shaped canvases, showed small intimate objects on a grand scale.

In 1980, Wesselmann now using the pseudonym Slim Stealingworth, wrote an autobiography documenting the evolution of his artistic work. He continued exploring shaped canvases (first exhibited in the 1960s) and began creating his first works in metal.

He instigated the development of a laser-cutting application, which would allow him to make a faithful translation of his drawings in cut-out metal. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the artist expanded these themes, creating abstract three dimensional images that he described as “going back to what I had desperately been aiming for in 1959.” He had indeed come full circle. In his final years, he returned to the female form in his ‘Sunset Nudes’ series of oil paintings on canvas, whose bold compositions, abstract imagery, and sanguine moods often recall the odalisques of Henri Matisse.

Wesselmann worked in New York City for more than four decades. He lived in New York City with his wife, Claire, daughters Jenny and Kate, and son Lane. He died there on December 17, 2004.

- The Estate of Tom Wesselmann


Museum Exhibitions

Selected press