Tom Wesselmann


One of the leaders of American Pop art, Tom Wesselmann (b. 1931, Ohio; d. 2004, New York) is best known for his collages, sculptures, and screenprints of the female figure. Returning home after the Korean War in 1932, Wesselmann began to study at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and subsequently became an illustrator of comic strips and magazines. In 1956, Wesselmann moved to New York, attending the Cooper Union. In the 1960s, Wesselmann established himself with the Great American Nude series, where he drew from American media culture, incorporating representational images with landscape photos and portraits. Wesselmann often worked in a large formats, evoking notions of the billboard and other forms of mass advertising. Over his career Wesselmann's brightly colored, flat, and abstract style of representational painting associated him with the Pop Art movement, although he often disagreed with being co-opted into the genre. Other notable series that he worked on in the later years of his career include the Smoker series, Bedroom Paintings, and Seascapes. Today, Wesselmann's works can be found 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.