Tom Wesselmann - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "I find sometimes I get so excited working, especially when starting new ideas; I get so excited that I get uncomfortable. It almost feels dangerous, like I’m flirting with something dangerous."
    —Tom Wesselmann

    Emerging to auction for the first time since its creation, the present work is an iconic iteration of Tom Wesselmann’s celebrated series of Mouth paintings. Executed in November 1967, a watershed year for the artist, Mouth #14 (Marilyn) is among the early pivotal works in the series that were conceived in tandem with Wesselmann’s first Smoker paintings. Immersing the viewer into a hypnotic erotism and graphic intensity that characterizes the best of Wesselmann’s works, here the mouth of Marilyn Monroe is transformed into a pair of sultry scarlet lips, her blonde strands of hair evoking sensual flames. Exhibited at Sidney Janis Gallery the year of its creation, Mouth #14 (Marilyn) marks the apex of the Wesselmann’s mid-career painterly investigations that established him at the forefront of the Pop vanguard.

     

    Among the artist’s most highly sought after works, Wesselmann’s Mouth paintings commenced in the mid-1960s as a natural extension of his Great American Nude series. Beginning with the Great American Nudes in 1961, Wesselmann placed youthful female nudes in vibrantly rendered settings while abstracting the figural form and, by the mid-decade, increasingly honed his focus on specific parts of the body. This gradual simplification led to his singular focus on mouths in the titular series initiated in 1965. The Mouth paintings eventually birthed the Smoker series in the year of the present work’s creation, when his friend and model Peggy Sarno paused for a cigarette during a session, marking the pivotal moment when Wesselmann became fascinated with smoke as a subject. Coinciding with this legendary account, the conception of Mouth #14 (Marilyn) may be viewed in parallel to this pivotal juncture. Created after Mouth #11, April 1967, Dallas Museum of Art—the first mouth with a cigarette—and in the same month as Smoker #1 (Mouth #12), Museum of Modern Art—the first work to include both a cigarette and smoke—the present work signals to Wesselmann’s interest in ephemeral smoke in the fiery wisps of hair that float across the lushly rendered lips.

     

    Marilyn Monroe, 1946. Image: André de Dienes/MUUS Collection

     

    Though Wesselmann began exploring shaped canvases in 1964 with his Great American Nudes, the artist advanced his investigations with the medium in the Mouth series. This body of work “represented a further evolution in the shaped canvas: a larger scale, closer views, and concentration on body parts,” he noted in his autobiography.”i As Mouth #14 (Marilyn) demonstrates, working on a grand scale allowed Wesselmann to enhance the sensational visual impact of his shaped canvases—now, its immersive proportions could subsume the viewer into an all-encompassing realm of the visceral and verboten. This breakthrough worked in tandem with his increasingly reductive and clarified style as “the paintings themselves took on a more sculptural format as the areas surrounding the objects were eliminated,” as Sam Hunter observed.ii In Mouth #14 (Marilyn), the perpendicular movement of the waving hair over the feminine mouth both engulf and unfurl our imagination as the artist disembodies the subject by eschewing further indicators of Marilyn. It is only by Wesselmann’s unique inclusion of her name in the title that we begin to recognize these lips as those of the iconic Hollywood starlet.

     

    Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe’s Lips, 1962. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Image: Licensed by DACS/Artimage, Artwork: © 2022 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

     

    Immediately recalling Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe’s Lips, 1962, the present work is at once an homage to Marilyn’s iconic smile and an embodiment of the relationship between advertising and celebrity. Like Warhol, Wesselmann’s embracement of sexual iconography and American popular culture in the pursuit of beauty made Marilyn the perfect choice for his artistic investigations. Mouth #14 (Marilyn) manifests the artist’s unique Pop lexicon in approaching the universal icon, not through visual repetition as Warhol’s iteration but through visual isolation with intense singularity. In line with the previously noted disembodiment of his subject, Wesselmann along with many of his contemporaries rejected critics’ stifling views on Pop Art. “They really worship Marilyn Monroe and Coca Cola,” as he once expressed. “The importance people attach to things an artist uses is irrelevant...I use a billboard picture because it is real, special representations of something, not because it is from a billboard. Advertising images excite me mainly because of what I can make from them.”iii

  • Mouth Paintings in Museum Collections

  • i Slim Stealingworth, Tom Wesselmann, New York, 1980, p. 49.
    ii Sam Hunter, “Remembering Tom Wesselmann (1931–2004): And His Alter Ego, Slim Stealingworth,” American Art, vol. 19, no. 2, Summer 2005, p. 110.
    iii Lucy R. Lippard, Pop Art, London, 1966, p. 80.

    • 來源

      紐約 Sidney Janis 畫廊
      洛杉磯Maria及Conrad Janis收藏(1968 年 2 月購自上述來源)
      紐約佩斯畫廊
      現藏者於2004年購自上述來源

    • 過往展覽

      New York, Sidney Janis Gallery, An Exhibition: Homage to Marilyn Monroe, December 6–30, 1967

    • 文學

      Slim Stealingworth, Tom Wesselmann, New York, 1980, p. 170 (illustrated)
      Christin J. Mamiya, Pop Art and Consumer Culture: American Super Market, Austin, 1992, p. 99
      Sam Hunter, Tom Wesselmann, New York, 1994, no. 54, p. 127 (illustrated, p. 66)
      Linda Bolton, Art Revolutions: Pop Art, London, 2000, p. 17 (illustrated)
      Beth McGovern, "Portrait of the Artist," Hiram, vol. 74, no. 2, Spring 2002, p. 11 (illustrated)
      Patricia Pate Havlice, World Painting Index: Third Supplement, 1990-1999, vol. I, Oxford, 2003, p. 1155
      Tom Wesselmann, exh. cat., MACRO Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, 2005, p. 313 (illustrated, p. 98)
      Sam Hunter, "Remembering Tom Wesselmann (1931–2004): And His Alter Ego, Slim Stealingworth," American Art, vol. 19, no. 2, Summer 2005, p. 110
      John Wilmerding, Tom Wesselmann: His Voice and Vision, New York, 2008, p. 125 (illustrated, p. 126)

    • 藝術家簡介

      湯姆.衛索曼

      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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重要佛羅里達州收藏

Ο ◆12

《嘴 #14(瑪麗蓮)》

款識:Wesselmann 67(畫布邊緣)
油彩 有形畫布
60 x 108 英吋 (152.4 x 274.3 公分)
1967年作,此作將被納入維爾登斯坦普拉特納研究所編錄的《湯姆.衛索曼數字語料庫》及《湯姆.衛索曼作品全集》。

Full Cataloguing

估價
$3,000,000 - 5,000,000 

成交價$3,236,500

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二十世紀及當代藝術晚間拍賣

紐約拍賣 2022年11月15日