Tom Wesselmann - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hokin Gallery Inc., Palm Beach; Sidney Janis Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Wesselmann may have seemed to have been poking fun at Matisse in his early appropriations of his nudes, but the tenacity with which he parodied and emulated the French master right up to his last works has to be taken at surface value as a genuine homage. Even as art history took over from consumer technology as Wesselmann’s principal source, however, he never really lost his machine aesthetic. The skill and scale of late Wesselmann are prodigious…From the outset, Wesselmann was the most unabashedly sexual of the canonical Pop Artists as he emerged at the same moment as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein or James Rosenquist – to mention just a few. Many Pop Artists played upon the sex in commercial design, sending up the crass basic instincts of advertising, but in Wesselmann the equation always seemed weighted in the opposite direction: the female nude was placed centre stage, the pop items surrounding her taking erotic charge from her proximity. It is not, in other words, that he was revealing the eroticism of a coke bottle so much as the fizzy delight of a nude.
    David Cohen, 'Tom Wesselmann', in The New York Sun, March 30, 2006

  • 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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Marilyn in Bed

Liquitex and graphite on paper.
16 1/4 x 28 7/8 in. (41.3 x 73.3 cm).
Signed and dated “Wesselmann 84” lower right.

£25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for £48,000

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm