Tom Wesselmann - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Thursday, November 15, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Tom Wesselmann’s treatment of the female form is one of the most recognizable in contemporary art. Choosing the nude fgure as his point of study, he transforms the semi-anonymous female into an iconic symbol of Pop Art, refecting his own signature style and unique point of view on a classic subject. The present lot, Study for Bedroom Painting #69, 1983, depicts the artist’s preferred, famed subject, but portrays parts of the figure with negative space. On this artistic technique, Wesselmann (under his pen-name, Slim Stealingworth) describes, “The large scale elements can compress the space by themselves, in whole or in part, scaling up the impact of the tension between the still life and the body part. Wesselman views them as a momentary glimpse of a possible situation. He, or the viewer, is near or in a bed with a woman, and he looks up and sees just in front of his face, the woman’s breast, for example, and then becomes aware of it in relationship to the objects behind it. This is an awareness we rarely have in real life, but which could theoretically make us better able to see an object in its context.” (S. Stealingworth, Tom Wesselmann, New York, 1980, p. 56).

  • 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 #69

oil on canvas
14 x 15 in. (35.6 x 38.1 cm)
Signed, titled, and dated "Study for Bedroom Painting #69, 1983, Wesselmann" on the overlap.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $182,500

Contemporary Art Day Sale

16 November 2012
New York