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  • Provenance

    Galleri Östergrenab, Malmö; French & Company, New York; Private collection, Switzerland

  • Literature

    D. Kuspit and L. K. Meisel, Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies: The Complete Paintings, New York, 2004, p. 142 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Apart from his ongoing interest in popularity and beauty, two concerns appear, intermittently and less ironically, in Ramos’s development: […] his relationship to art history and his sense of himself as an artist. Both show him at his most serious, if not without irony. On the one hand, he recasts art historical masterpieces in contemporary popular terms, suggesting that his own works are art historical masterpieces. This raises the question of what we mean by a masterpiece, which has usually been associated with exquisite craft and original vision. On the other hand, Ramos inserts himself in a number of images, as though to affirm his identity, more particularly, his identity as an artist. He appears, playfully, in symbolic phallic form in many pictures. […] There is also an extensive series of nudes with animals, which clearly alludes to the myth of (female) beauty and the (male) beast. It can be traced back to ancient imagery of nymph and satyr, who is half animal. All these objects are sturdy male presences, indeed, symbols of erection. Conjoined, female body and male symbol form an ironic image of sexual copulation. Ramos’s imagery clearly has its important place in the long tradition of erotic art. It is uniquely important today because the female nude, banalized by becoming popular-it “became commonplace in advertising in the late sixties”, losing its shock appeal- needs Ramos’s ironical symbolism to restore its erotic glamour and aesthetic aura. D. Kuspit, ‘The Uses of Irony: Popularity and Beauty in Mel Ramos’s Painting’, Mel Ramos Pop Art Fantasies, New York, 2004, p. 24

  • 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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163

Aardvark

1971
Oil on canvas.
132 x 152.4 cm. (52 x 60 in).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Mel Ramos ’Aardvark’ 71’ on the reverse.

Estimate
£200,000 - 300,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

28 Feb 2008, 7pm
London