Tom Wesselmann: Works for Sale, Upcoming Auctions & Past Results

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Tom Wesselmann

American  •  1931-2004


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. Active at a time when artists were moving away from the realism of figurative painting and growing increasingly interested in abstraction, Wesselmann opted for an antithetical approach: He took elements of city life that were both sensual and practical and represented them in a way that mirrored Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol's own methodologies.

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.


  • Wesselmann is best known for his 'Great American Nude' series, in which he represented hyper-sensual women juxtaposed with irreverent settings, political motifs and prosaic objects.

  • Using the tradition of collage, Wesselmann first presented his work in a New York solo exhibition at Tanager Gallery in 1961.

  • His work was also included in the 1962 show "The New Realists" at Sidney Janis Gallery, one of the most important presentations of 1960s avant-garde art.

"The challenge for an artist is always to find your own way of doing something."

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