Tom Wesselmann - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, May 17, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
    Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art Part 2, December 10,1999, lot 148
    Private Collection
    Christie's, New York, Post War and Contemporary Art Morning Session, May 10, 2006, lot 219
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    One of the leading American artists of the Pop Art Movement of the 1960’s, Tom Wesselmann owes his prestige to his brilliant rendering of classical subjects—nudes, landscapes, still lifes—in a mode fit for a design-oriented audience. Wesselmann portrays his many classical subjects (sometimes juxtaposed) with a focus on flat colors and smooth figures, opting for an aesthetic simplicity that eschews any aspirations of illusion. One can trace Wesselmann’s use of color and figure back to the Fauvist paper works of Henri Matisse, where the emphasis of the piece was equal parts geometry, adjacent color fields, and and subject itself.

    Study for Bedroom Painting #2, 1967, continues Wesselmann’s series of Bedroom Paintings that emerged in 1966. In Study for Bedroom Painting #2, 1967, Wesselmann depicts elements of both his previous and later series’ of paintings— including his Great American Nudes, Smokers, Mouths, and Still Lifes. In doing so, he both maintains and prefaces his favorite motifs. Though the present lot is meant to be a prologue to the painting itself, Wesselmann’s piece exhibits several differing visual elements, such as the subject’s hair and the positioning of each object. While the flesh tones of the woman’s face occupy an entire section of the canvas, Wesselmann’s exploration of primary colors is also evident in the present lot: from the vibrant blues of the curtains and blinds to the woman’s vivid blonde hair to the brick red of her lips, Wesselmann proves that he can make even the most conventional chromatic scheme seem alive and fresh. As his classical subjects also glow with an exuberant vigor, Wesselmann shows himself to be a master of brush in Study for Bedroom Painting #2, 1967.

  • Artist Biography

    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.

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Study for Bedroom Painting #2

oil on canvas
8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm.)
Signed, titled and dated "Study for Bedroom Painting #2, 1967, Wesselmann" on the stretcher.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
Amanda Stoffel
Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1261

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York 17 May 2013 10am