Mel Ramos - Contemporary Art Part I New York Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Terminus, Munich; Private collection, Hamburg

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Ramos’s bite is honey-coated in humor, but it cuts through the skin of his nude, adding, unexpectedly, an undercurrent of displeasure to his ostensibly pleasurable pictures. Irony is the fly in her smooth ointment, as it were, a blemish suggesting that her beauty is not as ideal as it seems. In general, the irony of Ramos’s nudes is obscured by their exhibitionism, but then their exhibitionism is ironical, for it promises more that the deliver.

    High culture is ironically countercultural in a situation in which the popular culture in the dominant, majority culture. Ramos’s art is in part about the ironical intersection of high and low art—individually and collectively made art, one might say—as well as the reversal of their traditional positions. For popular art has more emotional clout and privilege, as it as its wide dissemination (directly pitched to the broadest public), suggests, that high art, which remains stuck in the closet of the museum, and has limited appeal. Ramos is trying to bring it out—into the arena of popular culture—perhaps in an effort to show that ostensibly simple ‘cheap’ art is aesthetically and expressively complex and demanding as difficult ‘expensive’ art, only not as obviously. If, as Hanna Segal writes, what distinguishes art from entertainment is that art involves ‘psychic work’ while entertainment makes no dent in the psychic status quo, then Ramos is suggesting she’s wrong,” (D. Kuspit, “The Uses of Irony: Popularity and Beauty in Mel Ramos’s Painting”, Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies, The Complete Paintings, New York, 2004).

  • Artist Biography

    Mel Ramos

    American • 1935

    Mel Ramos is an American Pop artist best known for his paintings of female nudes alongside brand logos. His depictions of women with everyday products celebrate aspects of popular culture represented in mass media and advertising. Like his contemporaries Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, Ramos was inspired by comic books and grew up drawing cartoons and characters from their pages. The artist's works, including paintings, prints and works on paper, feature in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among others.

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Miss Martini #2

Oil on canvas.
36 x 24 in. (91.4 x 61 cm).
Signed and dated “Mel Ramos 04” on the reverse.

$250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for $300,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York