About the artist
Tom Wesselmann was an American Pop artist best known for his collages, sculptures, and screenprints that stylized the female figure. Often isolating segments of the body—red lips with a cigarette, a single nipple, or a stylish shoe—his artworks aim was to seize a viewer’s attention. “The prime mission of my art, in the beginning, and continuing still, is to make figurative art as exciting as abstract art,” he once said of his work. Born on February 23, 1931 in Cincinnati, OH, he was drafted into the US Army to serve in the Korean War in 1952. Returning home after the war, he studied drawing at the Art Academy of Cincinnati before working as an illustrator of comic strips and men’s magazines. In 1956, he moved to New York where he attended the Cooper Union.
Pop – Art
Tom Wesselmann is considered one of the major artists of New York Pop art, along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Best known for his 1960s series “Great American nude,” which featured flat figures in an intense palette of red, white, blue, and other patriotic colors, Wesselmann, in an effort to reject Abstract Expressionism, made collages and assemblages that incorporated everyday objects and advertising ephemera. In the early 1980s, he produced his first “Metal Works,” in which he shaped canvases and cut metal to create abstract three-dimensional images. In his final years, Wesselmann returned to the female form in the “Sunset Nudes” series, where the compositions, abstract imagery, and sanguine moods recall the odalisques of Henri Matisse. But now the work of Tom Wesselmann ”Monica reclining on back, knees up” is special because no color has been used in this nude work. Compared to most of his other ‘’nude works.’’
Today, the artist’s works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others.