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LOT 0045

Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004) - Study for Carol Nude

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Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004) - Study for Carol Nude

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Pencil and thinned Liquitex on paper
12 x 15 3/4 in. (30.5 x 40cm)
Executed in 1976.

Provenance

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, New York.
Hokin Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida.
Sotheby's, New York, sale of May 9, 1990, lot 405.
Acquired directly from the above sale.
The Collection of Sidney Rothberg, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lot Essay

Tom Wesselmann’s art became inextricably associated with the female nude beginning with his landmark Great American Nudes series in the late 1950s. It secured his place as one of the preeminent practitioners of Pop Art, though his art says more about his love for the female nude–typically presented in an inviting and erotic manner–than in an interest in making a conscious statement regarding consumption and consumerism, as expressed by the likes of Pop Art stalwarts Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Much has been written about Wesselmann’s interest in the work of de Kooning and Matisse, though while he may be regarded as an artist in their direct lineage, he turned away from all Abstract Expressionist tendencies in...”a desperate attempt to capture something significant of the beauty of the woman I was confronted with. It was always frustrating because the beauty of the woman is so elusive.”

In many of Wesselmann’s works, the female nude is depicted without facial features, and is, in those instances, rendered as less of a direct portrait. In other paintings, the artist only depicts fragments of a woman’s body, such as a hand, foot, or mouth–sometimes puffing a lit cigarette, as in his Smoker and Mouth painting, along with the artist’s larger format and much heralded Bedroom Paintings, which combine intimacy with scale.

Such is not the case with Study for Carol Nude, painted in 1976, as it is both small in scale, and also not a fragmented image. While largely rendered with the artist’s characteristic flatness, the subject herein, whose head is turned to the right, arms extended behind her head, and left leg lifted, lies comfortably in repose before the viewer. Behind her are pictorial elements which appear in other Wesselmann paintings of this period, including colorful flowers, a framed picture, and somewhat amorphous, decorative curved and/or striped sections of color. Executed in Liquitex, the composition of Study for Carol Nude is repeated nearly identically in Carol Nude, executed one year later, in 1977, a large, shaped oil on canvas first exhibited in New York City in 1979, at Sidney Janis Gallery.

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USA, Philadelphia, PA
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[ translate ]

Tom Wesselmann (American, 1931-2004) - Study for Carol Nude

<

Pencil and thinned Liquitex on paper
12 x 15 3/4 in. (30.5 x 40cm)
Executed in 1976.

Provenance

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, New York.
Hokin Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida.
Sotheby's, New York, sale of May 9, 1990, lot 405.
Acquired directly from the above sale.
The Collection of Sidney Rothberg, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lot Essay

Tom Wesselmann’s art became inextricably associated with the female nude beginning with his landmark Great American Nudes series in the late 1950s. It secured his place as one of the preeminent practitioners of Pop Art, though his art says more about his love for the female nude–typically presented in an inviting and erotic manner–than in an interest in making a conscious statement regarding consumption and consumerism, as expressed by the likes of Pop Art stalwarts Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Much has been written about Wesselmann’s interest in the work of de Kooning and Matisse, though while he may be regarded as an artist in their direct lineage, he turned away from all Abstract Expressionist tendencies in...”a desperate attempt to capture something significant of the beauty of the woman I was confronted with. It was always frustrating because the beauty of the woman is so elusive.”

In many of Wesselmann’s works, the female nude is depicted without facial features, and is, in those instances, rendered as less of a direct portrait. In other paintings, the artist only depicts fragments of a woman’s body, such as a hand, foot, or mouth–sometimes puffing a lit cigarette, as in his Smoker and Mouth painting, along with the artist’s larger format and much heralded Bedroom Paintings, which combine intimacy with scale.

Such is not the case with Study for Carol Nude, painted in 1976, as it is both small in scale, and also not a fragmented image. While largely rendered with the artist’s characteristic flatness, the subject herein, whose head is turned to the right, arms extended behind her head, and left leg lifted, lies comfortably in repose before the viewer. Behind her are pictorial elements which appear in other Wesselmann paintings of this period, including colorful flowers, a framed picture, and somewhat amorphous, decorative curved and/or striped sections of color. Executed in Liquitex, the composition of Study for Carol Nude is repeated nearly identically in Carol Nude, executed one year later, in 1977, a large, shaped oil on canvas first exhibited in New York City in 1979, at Sidney Janis Gallery.

[ translate ]
Sale price
Unlock
Estimate
Unlock
Reserve
Unlock
Time, Location
27 Feb 2024
USA, Philadelphia, PA
Auction House
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