Tom Wesselmann – Cynthia in the Bedroom, 1982
Edition of 100
Signed and numbered with the publisher’s stamp located in the lower right corner
Lot note and provenance: Martin Lawrence Gallery with original label
Condition: Light waviness in the paper with a slight 3-inch light crease in the head area
Certificate of Authenticity included
Over the course of his career, Tom Wesselmann has created a visual lexicon that is iconic and instantly recognizable. Wesselmann’s approach to Pop Art places priority on the female figure, reducing the human form to flattened, simplified motifs. This emphasis on the female subject has distanced him from other Pop artists. Painted in intense, bright colors and exaggerated flattened forms, the work “Cynthia in the Bedroom” is a perfect example of Wesselmann’s emblematic style.
Like the rest of the artist’s oeuvre, the piece “Cynthia in the Bedroom” is a celebration of color and shape. The work is an intimate close up view of a female subject, rendered in simplified style and bold colors. In areas of sharp delineation, interlocking shapes evoke the technique of collage.
Cynthia is lying with her eyes closed, highlighted by an eyeshadow executed in deep purples. Even though we only see the face of the subject, there is a subtle eroticism suggested in this work. Desire is brought to the fore with the lustful expression of Cynthia’s face, as well as the position of her body which is only hinted at. Using dazzling colors, the artist irresistibly draws our gaze into a world of easy sensuality and pleasurable indulgence.
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About Tom Wesselmann
One of the leading American Pop artists of the 1960s, Tom Wesselmann rejected Abstract expressionism in favor of the classical representations of the nude, still life, and landscape. Striving “to make figurative art as exciting as abstract art,” he developed a visual lexicon which is iconic and instantly recognizable.
A celebration of form and shape, the work of Tom Wesselmann uniquely blended contemporary images and pop culture with classical representation. Placing an emphasis on the female nude, he reduced the human form to exaggerated flattened, simplified motifs in paintings which were boldly-colored, erotically-charged and assertive. Isolating erogenous zones, such as hair, lips, nipples or teeth, he created the ideal body for the consumer age. He also produced collages and assemblages which incorporated everyday objects and advertising ephemera.
Wesselman is best known for his 1960s series “Great American Nudes”, which featured flat female figures juxtaposed with contemporary signs of consumer culture and politics. The nudes are placed in a typical American interior, painted in an intense palette of red, blue, and other patriotic colors.
In the 1980s, the artist published his autobiography using the pseudonym Slim Stealingworth, charting the evolution of his artistic practice. His works are in the permanent collection of MoMA, the Smithsonian, the Whitney, Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, the Israel Museum, The Museum of Modern Art in Japan and other institutions around the world.
Although he is often associated with Pop Art, Wesselmann never intended his works to serve as a cultural critique. He always insisted that there was no deep meaning at the root of his art.
Tom Wesselmann was born in 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. He worked in New York City for more than four decades, where he lived with his wife and three children. This is where he died in 2004 following a surgery for his heart condition. His last major series of paintings titled “Sunset Nudes” was shown after his death at the Robert Miller Gallery in New York in 2006.