Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004) was a leading American artist in the Pop Art movement. While Weseelmann incorporated the everyday objects, consumer culture, and vibrant colors familiar to Pop, he also explored classical representations, primarily of the female nude.
He attended the University of Cincinnati before serving in the army from 1951 to 1954. While he was in the service, he drew cartoons, a hobby that became a career when his two-year tour ended. In the early 1960s, he began to make small collages and assemblages, which included everyday imagery from magazines, advertisements, and consumer culture. His work became more sexually charged in the late 1960s, culminating in his erotic series for which he is best known, Great American Nudes.
Wesselmann's work increased in scale in the 1970s, as he began painting simple objects on large shaped canvases in his Standing Still Life series. Later in the 1970s, he created cut-out compositions in aluminum, enamel, and steel, which Gagosian has described as "an innovative technique of 'drawing.'" In the last two years of his life, he returned to the female nude that had become so iconic in his work, producing the Sunset Nude series.
His work can be found at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; The Museum of Modem Art, New York, NY; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, MO; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others.