Tom Wesselmann (Ohio, 1931 – New York, 2004) is considered one of the major artists of New York Pop Art, along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. 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. Soon after graduation, Wesselmann founded the Judson Gallery, along with Jim Dine and Marcus Ratliff.
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. He became well known for his collages, sculptures, and screenprints that stylized the female figure. 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.
Wesselmann's work is in permanent collections all over the world: Albright-Knox Art Gallery , Buffalo, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Margulies Collection, Miami, FL; The Museum of Modem Art, New York, NY; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Berardo Collection, Lisbon, Portugal; Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC), Nice, France; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain; Nasjonalgalieriet, Oslo, Norway; National Galerie, Berlin, Germany; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; The Modern Art Museum, Tokushima, Japan; Artsonje Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyungju City, Korea, amongst others.
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