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  • Provenance

    Tom Wesselmann Studio; Private Collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    Tom Wesselmann's treatment of the female form is one of the most recognisable in 20th century art. Choosing the figure as his point of study, he transformed the semi-anonymous female nude into a symbol of both Pop Art and the new-found freedoms of the 1960s and 70s. His figures are highly sexualized, but at the same time disarmingly familiar – we are presented with stylised nude woman in her ordinary American home. In his studies, the artist is concerned more with the form of the figure than the specific individual. By removing the majority of facial features and placing the hands and feet out of the picture plane, Wesselmann concentrates the viewer on the contours of the body rather than the identity of the model. This focus on form is made more apparent by the limited background Wesselmann provides for his model; the backdrop's solid colour blocks simply emphasize the lines of her figure, and draw the eye back to her torso.

  • 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 Pat nude

Oil on canvas.
56 x 76 cm (22 x 30 in).
Signed, titled and dated 'Wesselmann 1979 Study for Pat nude' on the reverse.

£150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for £159,650

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010